Film comeback???

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by stradibarrius, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    How many of you have read this article?

    http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2009/04/everything-old-is-new-againphotography.html

    When I read it I was happy to see such a positive response from those who posted comments!
    How many of our greatest scientific discoveries and inventions can from accidents in the lab???

    How many have had great shots that were actually mistakes but the unintended consequences turned out to be some of your greatest photos.
    This article made the point that in the typical digital work flow you don't have mistakes that show up in the final print. If you do something in PhotoShop for example you hit "Undo" and then do what you originally intended to do.

    I would like to hear some of your thoughts about this general idea and how digiital may possibly hinder the creative process.

    Please this is not an anti-digital thing...and I am not trying to start that type of thread. I am really curious about how you folks go through the creative process. I would ask that you read the article first and then reply.
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I see it differently. Film is not making a comeback. It doesn't need to. Sure, the film sector has been receding as digital capture gains dominance. But it is not due to a threat of extinction. I think, rather, it is more likely that film is finding a new place in the world. It is on the decline proportionately but it is in no danger of slipping away. There are legion film users alive and using today. Most by choice. Many in tandem with our electronic counterpart.

    Making a comeback? I think it's just relocating to a smaller yet better appreciated piece of the pie.
     
  3. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Film probably is making a comeback... in archival storage.

    Anyway, I don't think it's helpful to speak of digital hindering the creative process. Different tools can be used creatively in different ways, and creative people will find ways to express themselves with any tool. And of course, every tool we use has strengths and limitations. Pencils and brushes, spraycans and sharpies: all different tools suited to different tasks. I've always thought it's kind of obvious to say film isn't good at doing what digital does best, and digital isn't as good at doing what film does best. Uh... yeah, no kidding! I mean, since more than ten years ago, boneheads have been comparing flatbed scanned film to native digital images, or LF film to small format digital, or... well don't get me started :wink:
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    And last April while I was photographing in Moab Utah, one of the other people on the off-road trail told me that his son's new 10 megapixel Canon could beat the pants off the Hasselblad that I was using. I just smiled and said, "You must be so proud of him." <<sigh>>

    Steve
     
  6. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    :D
     
  7. alan doyle

    alan doyle Member

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    sounds correct, those hasselblods are for retro fiends and space cadets, they are so 1969 so neil stretch armstrong and buzz lightyear.
    and do not even get me started on that carol zeiss guy and his crummy lens.:D
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Film has been there along, and it's not for everybody. How I see it is that many people today lack a sense of true critical thinking when it comes to choices they make.
    For instance, in the middle of a global recession Apple Inc sold millions of new iPhones the first weekend it was launched. To me that signals a completely messed up set of priorities when there are people that are unemployed looking for the next meal.
    People saw possibilities with digital and forgot about the consequences. Who the heck needs more files? Really? What exactly did everybody gain? I think of all the old and obsolete digital cameras (and other electronic devices) that are filling land fills around the globe or collecting dust every time I pick up my 40+ years old Hasselblad 500C and use it - every time the results are perfect. If you know how to use such a camera you will get as good as or better images than with any digital setup. It's good to see that some people are realizing the potential of film shooting again.

    What I'm mainly worried about is paper. A lot of the film that's being shot today ends up being scanned. But what about our favorite papers? How much longer is even the venerable Ilford MGIV warmtone going to be around? Hopefully for a long time yet, but I think that if anything is declining it's the use of good quality fiber based silver gelatin papers. Hopefully the digital exposure systems will continue to have an impact on the market, and hopefully digital shooters will appreciate getting their photos onto fine baryta paper.

    - Thomas
     
  9. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    As far as I'm concerned film doesn't need to make a comeback, It's never been anwhere my photography hasn't changed one iota, I still shoot the same films in the same cameras.
     
  10. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Film is a much more capital intensive and difficult thing to produce than paper. I'm worried about film.

    As for the article, I think it's only so much wishful thinking.
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    But that was when I graduated college!

    Steve
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    FWIW, I'm sure there is another thread here on APUG discussing this very blog. I seem to remember that Christopher Walrath started that thread (but I certainly could be mistaken).

    Note that this is a reprint of something originally published in 2007.

    Matt
     
  13. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    There are facts nested in that article, but I think the presentation is skewed. The writer acts like he's presenting something revolutionary and maybe it was for him at the time, but he uses "we" as if every photographer thought the way he does and would be bowled over by his wife's observation that there's no logical reason to devote to one way over the other.

    News flash: Not only are countless hoards of us owners of both digital and film cameras, switching between them however we feel like it, we also still use pens, pencils and paper when it suits us instead of a computer. I own several computers that do things I'd never want to do on paper, but the fact remains it's faster at times to scribble on paper than work on a computer, so sometimes I scribble on paper. It's been so since I was in high school and computers were first available to us for word processing.

    "Digital" does this and "digital does that," is still buying into the mythic binary world where there's two forces arrayed in battle for domination. Unless your computer is stealing your pens and hiding your paper, it's not in your way. If you're trying to design on a computer when you'd be better off using a marker and newsprint pad, it's not the computer's fault. It's yours. Similarly, I'm pretty sure that no brand of digital camera is sneaking around the house at night fogging rolls of film and spoiling developer, so again, if you shoot your Nikon D300 when in your heart you know you'd rather be shooting your Mamiya Super, it's not the D300's fault. It's yours.

    Getting back to the photographic side though, I don't believe film is making a "comeback" as that would imply that it's gotten back up after falling down. The facts today remain the same as a few years ago that digital has displaced film as the dominant photographic medium when it comes to raw numbers, but film's continuing service is pretty much holding out in the same areas as before. The only thing that can be said is that now that the digital revolution has calmed down people are less inclined to bag on film and ask why you haven't switched to digital yet, but that's not the same thing as a comeback.

    Last thought about the upside of accidents. It's arguable whether this is a benefit of film or not, but I will say that the possibility of more accidents doesn't make film a more creative medium, just a more random one. If I screw up my film processing and end up with something I like, that doesn't make me more creative. It just means I had a lucky accident.
     
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  15. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Maybe it's time I learned to make paper. At least on a limited basis. Might prove a handy skill down the road.
     
  16. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    I found that article, and most of the comments to be refreshingly free of the Film vs Digital dick waving that so often goes on.

    I use a point and shoot digital for grab shots, I'm not over convinced about the quality. I use film in numerous camera for the stuff I hope will be worth showing outside the family circle. I like what I do.
    I also shoot film in a ratio of about 20:1 to digital.

    suits me
     
  17. Thomas Wilson

    Thomas Wilson Member

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    I agree.

    I keep a G9 in my Hasselblad kit. It's fast, easy, makes a good light meter with some reach, and gives me pretty good RAW files to play with while I'm waiting for my film from the lab.

    I enjoy printing the 6x6 negatives and playing with the digital files. I wont argue digital vs. film for quality, but for archiving, I'll stick with film.

    If someone breaks in, a couple of hard drives can fit in a coat pocket and fetch 5-10 dollars at a pawn shop. A couple of filing cabinets full of negatives? Now, stealing those would be a neat trick.
     
  18. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    The author's point is as much about how the artist works as it is about film. His observations echo my own as a teacher- the students I trained in the days of manual paste-up, sketch pads, and film(s) - photographic and repro lith - are better and quicker designers and photographers than those who have grown up in the totally digital age. Bottom line, the computer is pretty good but it is for sure "two-dimensional" in a very binary sort of way.
     
  19. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I thought that article looked familiar. I cannot find the original thread but I scrolled down on the article and, sure enough, there was little old me spouting my fool head off (if you can imagine such an absurd idea). ;p
     
  20. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Intersting read......
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  22. wayne naughton

    wayne naughton Member

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    We are coming to the end of a photographic era...but we can all stop this from happening completely! Shoot Kodachrome!--Pull that old film camera out of the closet. It is hungry for some Kodachrome!

    according to yesterday's press reports, kodachrome is now finished....<shrug>
     
  23. Marcus S

    Marcus S Member

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    Hello,

    Film is on the way out?
    There were 23 new films introduced to the market lately. More than at anytime in history.
    Many companies have restructured and new papers, film and special developers are introduced.
    There are awesome new films out there and many seem to be coming from Germany.
    I am following german photographic websites and there is a considerable resurgence of film,
    paper, and specialty developers.
    Rollei is still producing their beautiful Rolleiflex camera. (they have not closed their doors after all) Adox is coming back swinging, after being absent for long time from the photographic market. Many companies are working together to be more efficient.

    Cheers,

    Marcus
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2009
  24. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    I love that one! That's a gem!! :tongue::tongue::tongue:
     
  25. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Been reading some other stuff on this guy's blog since I found this thread yesterday. Lots of interesting observations -particularly on lighting etc. - in a Dean Collinsish kind of way.
     
  26. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I read that article a little while back and quite enjoyed it. It's an excellent read.

    From the article:
    Unfortunately you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone in the legion of black-plastic-dslrs-users who understands that :sad:

    Mark Twain said "Everyone complains about the weather but no one ever does anything about it." Well ... everyone complains about post-processing, but no one ever does anything about it :rolleyes:

    For me digital impedes creativity because I can see the results immediately. I see the LCD and I loose interest after that. Instant gratification kills it for me.

    As for the creative process, I just walk around with a camera and take pictures of what interests me. I also spend a lot of time on Flickr: there are zillions of film photographers there with tons of good work. Very inspirational for me.