I admit to coming slowly to the d-side, as some call it. But I’m in now and with both feet.
My biggest apprehension about digital was the loss of what makes photography such a special medium. That is its unique connection to the physical world. In a conventional photograph the light bouncing off a subject is focused through the lens and collides with a speck of light sensitive silver salt in proportion to the intensity and color of that light. There is an actual physical relationship between the scene, the negative and then the print. They are at their root, indisputable evidence of what ever it is they illustrate.
In a digital image light is focused on a chip that makes an electronic capture. This data is next passed through programs in the camera and then the computer. The file is wildly malleable until it is reconfigured as an image. The great advantage is that the considerable limitations of conventional photography are usurped. The picture is “improved”. But is it still a photograph with its integrity intact? Strictly speaking, no, it isn’t. Further more, as the public participates in digital image making the inherent sanctity of the photograph is undermined. People know a picture can be adjusted or manipulated to suit. The perception of what a photograph is has been changed. This is a loss. To purists this loss of integrity is unacceptable. I can relate.
Digital photography offers advantages. The unprecedented control makes it possible to articulate the idea of a photograph much more precisely then ever before. In the end, realizing the idea is paramount to championing any given technology.
Digital files are simpler to work with than the old system. Darkroom work can be enjoyable but it can also be punishing to one’s health. It definitely is less efficient and not as ecologically friendly as working on a screen.
One significant improvement in the new photography are the prints. Inkjet printers are capable of superior results. The new printers accommodate fine art paper stocks comparable to the fine art papers used in printmaking. I am working with a line of 100% rag papers from Crane & Company. I have spent over 30 years honing my craft and these prints are the best I have ever made.
Digital photography is a reality. This is the system by which images are transmitted and often consumed. Conventional photographs are digitized for almost any use any way.
Technology advances – more rapidly than ever.