Analog... or silver-based?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Robert Ridyard, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Robert Ridyard

    Robert Ridyard Member

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    In the French-speaking world, traditional, non-digital photography is known as “photographie argentique”. The word “argentique” derives from the noun “argent”, which is the French word for silver. Thus, in French, one speaks of “argentique” (silver-based) and “numérique” (digital) photography. I have always thought that the digital/analog dichotomy refers to audio signals. Would it not be more appropriate to refer to analog photography as silver-based photography?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Well if your just referring to capture on film maybe but then subsequent analog prints could be alternative processes plat/palladium, iron based, etc.

    Ian
     
  3. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I now use "chemical photography". I agree that analog is no good as a descriptor, but then again, silver is too confining as well.
     
  4. ROL

    ROL Member

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    In my case yes. And I do. I never describe my processes, or indeed analog anything, as analog anywhere but here. IMO, the term analog has a very dated (as in the clock has run out), leaden and Luddite feel to it. In terms of the general public, many of whom no nothing of classical (silver–based) photography, terms I more generally prefer, I feel the term analog actually does a disservice to my own work and the photographic products of silver or alternative techniques.
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    My audio friends collect and treasure "acoustic" recordings.
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I like to call myself a user of traditional silver based medium for image capturing.
     
  7. E76

    E76 Member

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    I prefer traditional photography as a broad descriptor, and refer to the medium (as you have) only when I'm being specific.
     
  8. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Subscriber

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    I generally talk about "film photography". Although not a complete description, it is widely understood. Even the younger generation seems to know what film is.
     
  9. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    If it uses film it is called "photography." If it's digital it is called, "crap."
    It's much easier to keep things straight that way.

    I find that most people with digicams who fancy themselves as photographers will say things like, "Oh, I took one course on photography in college...," then they'll look at you like a Neanderthal when they see your Rolleiflex. Then, when you point out the red and green fringes around objects in digital pictures and explain how that is caused by the Bayer filter over the CCD chip and that there is no way to prevent that unless one buys a very expensive (multiple thousands of dollars) camera or unless the photographer knows how to use Photoshop which costs several hundred dollars to buy. At my last recollection, I don't believe Photoshop Elements, which many digital "photographers" buy, has the capability to remove that color fringing, at least not without some serious mucking around.

    You can sit down with a person and show them their own pictures (or better still, your pictures) how lens aberration and Bayer fringing affect a picture but they are either blind to it, they don't care or they are lying to protect their own feelings.

    Okay, the "digital = crap" thing I started off with was a joke... and I hope most of you figured that out. :wink:
    However, my illustration, here, is meant to show that, unless you are a traditionally trained photographer or unless you have had instruction by a traditionally trained teacher, it is likely that you have not learned to be critical of your own work in order to notice things like aberration or macroblocking and you probably have no idea what dynamic range means to a photograph.

    I know a few pro photographers who shoot digital 100% of the time, now, and they are really good artists and masters of their craft. However, they are all very critical of their work (and to a lesser degree, the work of others) and they all learned this by shooting photos with film.

    I believe it is difficult or even impossible to learn how to be a good photographer unless you have had at least a little experience shooting film. That's why I recommend to everybody who wants to learn photography... even people who think they want to shoot only digital... that they should spend at least one summer shooting with film. In almost every case, where a person has taken that advice, I have seen his or her photography skills increase exponentially. Maybe that person had the skill and inclination to become a good photographer regardless. Or, maybe, pushing people into traditional photography as a "primer" separates the men from the boys, so to speak but, in more than 90% of the cases where I know a person has learned at least some traditional photography, they have improved. (One of those people was my 12 year old nephew.)

    Most people who just want to snap pictures with a camera phone or a pocket digicam only want to view JPEGs on their computer screen. Those are the people who are the most troublesome. People who have taken the time and spent the money to buy a nice digicam are often more willing to listen for a short time.

    In any case, my standard response to anybody who tries to chide me about shooting photos with film is: "I bet I can take better pictures with an empty beer can and a roll of duct tape than you can with your $2,000 digicam."

    Haven't had anybody take me up on that bet to date but I think I still want to make a pinhole camera out of an empty beer can just for sh*ts and giggles, anyway.
     
  10. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    How about "heavy metal" photography? :cool:
     
  11. jbwpro

    jbwpro Member

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    photochemical works in the motion picture world
     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    Wet photography, as in, "I am all wet."
    Vaughn
     
  13. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    I agree with the idea that "analogue" makes sense in terms of audio signals only. Somehow it got carried over to mean anything non-digital. "Traditional" or "film" photography is the best way to describe what we do here. (Oops -- I just remembered the name of this forum....)
     
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  15. borek

    borek Member

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    I dont know,but better is -classic film photography,traditional film photography and .....
    I thin, digi make only digital picture,not photography !
     
  16. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    "Analog" doesn't necessarily pertain to audio, although that's certainly how we're most used to seeing the word: "of or pertaining to a mechanism that represents data by measurement of a continuous physical variable, as voltage or pressure." That certainly describes how we practice non-digital photography. However, "analog" carries so many associations that compare it to digital means that I hate to use the word. It is as if the use of the word is always an afterthought after something has gone digital. Whether one uses the terms "traditional," "silver-based," or "film" photography depends on one's frame of reference. I myself prefer "silver-based" for what I do.

    Worker 11811's comments above are certainly correct. I started earnestly as a photography only four years ago. Long story short, I was ready to go back to college full-time, learn photography, and get a BFA in photography. But for various reasons, I didn't, and decided to teach myself the craft. I was determined to give myself a good fundamental education so that at the end, I'd know as much as someone with a BFA in photography would know. So after a year of learning digital, I plunged headlong into film, but thinking I'd do a "semester" or a year and then be done with it and go back to digital. Needless to say, I got hooked and it is digital I don't use much anymore -- mostly for when I need real-time results or when I'm doing complex lighting, or just for convenience. Film, though, gives me the tactile, hands-on, "I did it myself," "I'm an artist" feel that digital doesn't. Film has taught me more about everything relating to photography that digital didn't. You can name any area of competency relating to photography (e.g., exposure, composition, lighting, self-criticism), and I could tell you how film has helped me. I still like digital for some things, but film has helped me what digital just simply can't do well.
     
  17. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I say 'film' for what I do. If someone doesn't understand I usually say something like 'you know, proper photography'.
     
  18. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Oh yes, “photographie argentique” is a much better description. I would like to use this all the time. Now thats what I call brilliant :cool:.
     
  19. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I describe what I do as the "classic" photographic method, athough I then have to explain what I mean by classic. I do enjoy the word "argentique," though. It is sure to be a conversation starter.
     
  20. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    A rose by any other name would smell as bad.
     
  21. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I call it photography.
     
  22. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Isn't it true the French do (and say) things differently?
    Can we leave it as analogue photography?
     
  23. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Film and electronic should be the names, both systems capture an analog image, the electronic one converts the recorded voltages to digital data after the shutter closes and the electronic device is read.
     
  24. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    But Bob I shoot on plates and paper too, and that's not film.... :blink:
     
  25. welly

    welly Member

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    Remember many of us are not pro-photographers and do this purely because we enjoy photography. As an amateur/hobby photographer, I have neither the finance or inclination to have instruction by a traditionally trained photographer, particularly so as I never expect any recompense as a result of taking photos!

    Actually just further to that, I would say that most people I speak to when I tell them I shoot film are usually blown away/amazed (in a positive way!) that I do shoot film and when they find out I develop at home, even more so. One of my female friends, when this weekend past saw me carrying 20kg of large format camera gear up and down a mountain (for one shot) was very complimentary!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2012
  26. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Who said you had to pay to have somebody teach you photography? Neither does it have to be formal, book learning either. :smile:
    My first photography teacher was my father. My first photography lesson was when I was ten years old where he handed me a loaded camera and said, "If you break this camera, I'll break you! Now get out of here and don't come back until number in this little window says '36.'"

    Further, you're here. Aren't you? APUG counts for something. Doesn't it?
    Last I heard, all sorts of traditionally trained photographers were teaching others about photography right here at this forum.

    You, like me and many others here, are naturally autodidactic. We don't learn the same way others do and it doesn't make sense to compare the way we learn to the way others learn.
    Bottom line: Just by being here and participating, you are becoming a traditionally trained photographer, taught by other traditionally trained photographers. That, by itself, probably puts you head and shoulders above the unwashed masses.

    Just to make it clear, that "I can take pictures with a beer can" bet is always made with a wink and a smile. I don't ever mean it to be taken as a put-down.
    Okay... So, I have a warped sense of humor. Sue me. :wink:
    (Still, I just gotta' make a pinhole camera out of a beer can! :wink: )

    You are right. Most people who learn that I am a traditional photographer are pleasantly surprised to hear it. When I talk about getting in peoples' faces about it, I refer to a rare minority of cases. When I do get uppity, it's always in the tone of a good natured banter. Even with an abundance of smilies ( :wink: :D :smile: ) it's hard to get that kind of tone across via the internet.

    Even without training or informal study, you've still got one thing that sets you above 90% of the population, be they photographers or anything else: Work ethic.
    To carry 45 lbs. of gear up a mountain shows that your interest in your subject of choice is more than just a pass time. You care about the work you produce and you have the foresight to think about your work and to be critical of yourself and your results.

    You've got more ethic in your little finger than most people will ever have in their own lives. Digicam or film, that's what makes you a real photographer.