Peter Mikalajunas (email@example.com)
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 19:22:59 -0500 (CDT)
On Mon, 19 Apr 1999 06:03:14 -0400 (EDT), you wrote:
>For those who are regular readers of this list have probably gotten some
>inkling about my feelings towards digital and its place in what we do as
>alternative process image makers. I have been thinking a lot about this
>lately, both privately and with various colleagues, some supporters and
>opponents to the whole digital revolution. I would like to clarify some
>those thoughts and pose some questions to those who favor this new
>technology. It is no secret that I believe that digital is the highway to
>hell and its practitioners minions of the devil ;-). But here are some
>thoughts, in no particular order. And some questions to ponder.
Some very interesting questions....
First, I have to admit that my occupation has an influence on this topic.
Many years spent as programmer and now systems architect.
Patrick, you do paint with a broad brush. Kodak's slow retreat from the
LF film market has more to due with the success of their APS efforts than
digital alternatives for negative manipulation.
Digital as it relates to photography encompasses everything from the
digital P'n'S, to very expensive digital backs for LF, LVT output devices,
I do agree with your observations about Photoshop and productivity. It
should lead to a more contemplative approach to negative manipulation than
it does. From a certain perspective, I think Photoshop is an
inappropriate tool for the task. Unfortunately, no coporation is going to
invest in developing the precise tool that users in this group would find
truly acceptable. So, we are stuck using a wrench to drive nails.
Your cost estimates are also painfully accurate, as I have discovered in
my own quest. The trouble is the market share is so small. Corporations
base their returns on hundreds of thousands of units sold. I doubt I will
ever find an affordable drum-scanner at the local Best Buy.
I have found however, that as I journey through the digital experience, I
learn more about what makes a good image really good. It has renewed my
interest in controlling the negative. Whether the best approach is
chemical or digital is left to me. It has also deepened my respect for
b&w, having spent a lot time using Velvia.
I have an extremely cheap (under a $100) Artec Scanrom sitting here. It
allows me to quickly scan a 4x5 b&w negative, bring it into Photoshop
and evalute how the print should be handled. Would a certain element look
better with a touch of burning, dodging? Used this way, I find digital a
great help and cost savings.
Finally, as to your dealer friend. I honestly think it is more a matter
of marketing/presentation than the collecting public's dislike of digital.
Does this same dealer place Adam's "Moonrise Hernandez" on the wall, then
tell a perspective buyer, "Well this is a much later version, that Adams
heavily dodged. You know of course it was just a grab shot that he
didn't even bother to meter!"
Of course not. For those seeking to combine digital with alt processes,
the manipulation is the same, the result is just more predictable once
finalized. I would much rather spend 6 to 8 hours in the light with a cup
of coffee getting that first print right. Unfortunately, not all
subjects or negatives are handled best on a terminal.
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