Remember last weeks concept was taken over by my trials and tribulations trying to get to Ohio? Here is the blog I had intended for then....
Film vs Digital
This blog is not about a value judgment between these two methods of taking photographs. I am not going to tell whether I think one is better than the other. In truth, although I am a film photographer first and foremost, I think making that kind of judgement between methods of creation is wrong. As artists....we are beholden to our muses and what we use to create out work...is less of consequence then the work we create. Although I do acknowledge that there are artists out there whose work is self-reflective of the process that they use. And that is wonderful too.
What I am interested in discussing it the labels we use to identify work once it is produced. And how confusing this is for the beginning collector of photography. When I began my "career" as a photographer, there was no digital photography. Other than polaroids and the more archaic methods of photography like daguerreotypes, solargrams and tintypes, all "Photographs" began as images on film. Negatives and chromes (like slide film). Again, other than those other print forms, all photographic prints were created in a darkroom. So, when you said that you were a photographer, there was no question about what that meant as far as the process that you did to create your work. Most understand that at some point it was a hands on process. And although able to be printed in multiple copies....some variations due to the process made each print somewhat unique. Again, I want to be clear that this is not a value judgement...it just what we did. And for the most part, what I still do.
Sheer Cliff Face - shot on film, Gelatin Silver Print done in darkroom and scanned to computer
Enter the digital revolution! Today, more often than not, what you see when you see a photograph for sale, is a print that was made from a digital process. There are several ways that this can happen. The first and most prevalent, is that the image was shot with a digital camera, downloaded into a computer and either digitally manipulated with a program like PhotoShop or left virtually unchanged from the original shot. This image is then printed directly from the computer on either an inkjet or laser printer, or even mass printed on poster paper.
Another format that is building in interest are images that have been shot on film and scanned into the computer. These are then altered or not and printed the same as those that originated from a digital camera. One more possibility is to scan the traditionally created darkroom print and then to print digitally from those jpegs.
Most darkroom prints are identified by the darkroom process or paper that they are printed on. Silver prints (are the same as gelatin silver prints), platinum, palladium, c-prints, cibachromes etc, all of these are darkroom prints. Unfortunately, digital prints are called by too many different names. Sometimes, I feel it seems almost to confuse the buyer into thinking that the digital print and darkroom print are the same thing. But, mostly I think it is because nobody has come up with suitable terminology. I have seen digitally created images called; photographs, archival photographs, inkjet prints, photographic prints, giclees, prints (didn't these used to be a whole different group of processes?) and many other names.