Seeking "describers" of what/how we do......

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Sim2, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Sim2

    Sim2 Subscriber

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    Hi there,

    An odd title for a posting however, I could not think of something more suitable and would like to know your thoughts.

    We all know what we mean by analogue photography or analogue print but outside of the rarefied circle - does this mean anything to the "man in the street" or make any sense?

    Not knocking the APUG title in anyway. Why am I thinking this way?

    I was doodling with a strapline for a logo and when I used "Black and white photography" I imagined that most people would think of digital work. Using "Analogue b/w photography" made sense to me but would that make sense to someone not versed in the minutiae of the film/digital divide?

    Are there any reasonable "describers" that might suit to describe the black and white hand printed photographs made using film and chemicals?

    Any thoughts to help out this musing?

    Sim2. :munch:
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    What's wrong with simply using the words "film" or "traditional" - as in traditional, film based photography ?
     
  3. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I agree with Brad. "film" and "traditional" are both good descriptors that I use often. I also use the word classic, and in less formal settings, old school, film dog, luddite...
     
  4. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Traditional works as a descriptor. I don't like the word analogue because it's prejudicial in adopting digital terminology. The terms will become meaningless as technology evolves and cameras spill out a code, a silver negative, a dye transfer, a Polaroid type instant, a 3-D simulacrum or whatever the user decides.
     
  5. Sim2

    Sim2 Subscriber

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    Yep, I quite like the "film" and "traditional" though film doesn't really indicate hand made prints - film can be scanned and digi printed. When I think about traditional I can't help but think that it is a describer of subject rather than process, but it perhaps makes sense.

    Still not sure, thinking about it too much now!

    Sim2.
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Traditional photography, Hand made prints?
     
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Analog is probably the most suitable word. Why not just learn to explain what analog is to people who do not know?
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I agree with John, traditional photography, hand made prints.

    Jeff
     
  9. Maris

    Maris Member

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    If asked I say I make "genuine photographs out of light sensitive materials".

    Inevitably I follow with "digital picture making isn't photography and it's specifically what I guarantee not to do". Sometimes I get an argument based on the tired old formula "well, light hits a sensor" and sometimes I get a shrug. One thing that I never never say (and I type it with revulsion) is "digital photography". That phrase embraces an untruth which my sense of shame forces me to recoil from.

    And I also avoid "analogue photography" because that concedes there may be such a thing as "non-analogue photography". There isn't.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2010
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    So, photography is analog only.

    This is news to me. Have you been to your local photo shop lately? It isn't.

    You are stating an elitist point of view as if it is a fact. Digital photography definitely does exist, and definitely is photography, by any standard definition of these terms.

    You may not like it, but it sure as shit exists and is photography, and denying that it does is an exercise in nonsense and uselessness.
     
  11. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Maris: as passionate as I am about prints made in the darkroom from film negatives, I have to disagree with your observation that "digital photography" is an oxymoron. In fact, I wish that galleries, art shows, magazines, and other venues that display photographs would identify pictures taken with a digital camera as just that.

    I have noticed that there are far more photographs accepted into juried art shows that I have entered than in previous years. I also perceive that almost all of them are digital or hybrid pictures. I carefully list my medium as "silver gelatin photograph," or more often, "lith photograph."

    I think that digital photography is a valid art form, but it seems that some of its practitioners hide behind the label of "photography" because...well, maybe they think their media isn't as accepted, or they hope uninformed viewers will think it is a traditionally made print. Maybe other reasons; I don't know. Frankly, my own biased opinion is that most people think that digital photographs are easier to make, and therefore attach more value to traditionally made photographs. So if digital photographs are identified as a separate media from silver gelatin photographs, our media should be accorded greater value.

    I also think that I have rambled on far too long. Blame it on the wine with dinner.
     
  12. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    I think today for the average Joe,Photography is a print made with a digital camera.Even people who used film point and shoot film cameras 10-15yrs ago.But 15 and more years ago the same old average Joe would say that a print made with a film camera is photography,there was no digital. Toy digital camera,toy film camera,no difference for them,just the convenience of what is handy.I would not try to talk about the merits of film to someone who is looking only for the conveyance of taking a family snap shoot,but to an aspiring inquisitive young artist yes,A fellow photographer yes,some one interested in film or analog photography ,or some who has a liking for a anlog print yes.
    Before I joined APUG never used the term analog ,its kind of a sterile word to describe film to me.
     
  13. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Well, I think digital is also photography, but won't argue about that.

    Analog/Film/"Traditional Film" is what I use. Digital is the buzzword for what most people are wanting for cameras/cellphones/music, and everyone knows analog is the antonym of digital. Analog isn't what film photography was called 10 years ago, but it's an accurate and understood contemporary term for what we do and concisely how it's different than the status quo.

    Analog is also a cool thing among music/audio people where the seeming pinnacle of music listening spendiness is to listen to records on a $100000 turntable mounted on granite connected up to a tube amp; 100% analog.
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Forget the pinnacle. I have had the same turntable for 23 (I think) years. I got it at the Broadway and I play it through through model speakers that I also got at the Broadway. Still sounds better than CDs, even on this department store rig! Plus, you get to have BIG album art and you get to flip the thing over halfway through, which is how the things were often designed to be heard.

    ...and it ain't cool to most music/audio people. People think I am a Luddite freak when they walk in and see a thousand LPs opposite the entry door (and about 3,000 upstairs, if they make it that far). They have thought this since the late 1980s and early 1990s too, when most people went 100 percent digital for their music listening.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2010
  16. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    My photo business card describes my works as:

    Black & White and Colour photography
    Hand processed and printed using silver based techniques

    I'm not trying to slag anyone, just tell people what I work with.

    More casually, I tell people I use film cameras.
     
  17. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I find that most people understand "darkroom prints" pretty well. They understand that it's different when you use the word "darkroom", even if they don't actually know the difference, they know that there is a difference.
     
  18. jamesgignac

    jamesgignac Member

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    I've recently found (especially now that I'm in China) that anytime I use the word 'film' as in the sentence "I shoot on film" it is almost always misunderstood and the person I'm speaking with then begins to ask me about movie making, etc. 'Film' seems to have fallen off the minds of the average person to such an extent that it only means 'Movie'. This has been my experience several times when I was living in Canada and almost always when I speak to Chinese people (in English) about traditional photography.

    I'm not sure - I don't mind using 'traditional' but many of the processes that I use are not traditional in any way as I personally do a lot of hybrid stuff and often will produce a digital image as an end result of my film work. Analogue confuses those who are not native English speakers (and even some who are), so in my particular case I'm still looking for the right words to quickly describe my medium of choice.
     
  19. j-dogg

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    Superior format. :laugh:
     
  20. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I say I make photos 'the proper way'.
     
  21. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I like "Film Based" or "Traditional Film Based Photography" both have a nice ring to them.
     
  22. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I also don't like the word "traditional" because it sounds old-fashioned, or obsolete. I do not feel that there is anything old-fashioned, unmodern, quaint about what I do and I feel a silver print made in 2010 is not some sort of anachronism.
     
  23. matt S

    matt S Member

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    interesting thread...

    as I think we all have to explain to someone, at sometime, what we are doing with film. I enjoy the different approaches people take, and i even like the "digital is not photography" argument, makes me smile, at least.

    I have been telling people i am into "wet" photography. Seems to get the point across, and gives them a mental image of something more than just circuits and code. I figure if it confuses some people, these people would be just as confused at "analog" or "traditional" or anything else.
     
  24. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I often use the term "wet photography." Most people understand what it means but I only use it in conversation. I wouldn't advertise or promote my work using the term "wet." (It sounds too much like porn! :wink: ) When discussing photography with people who don't know my work I often use the term "traditional photography."

    I like digital photography but there are too many techno-jocks out there who think that all they have to do is buy the latest electronic gizmos from Walmart and that makes them a photographer. Sure, this phenomenon has existed since the dawn of traditional photography, too. There will always be people who think they only need to buy the "right equipment" in order to become a photographer but, with the advent of digital technology, there are orders of magnitude more people who act that way. I guess digital technology makes everything faster! :wink:

    I don't think that digital photography "needs" to be differentiated from traditional photography, per se. If the photographer concentrates his efforts on "image making" I don't think it matters what medium he uses. However, it can be argued that process is important in the creation of the end product. For instance, there are still traditional woodworkers out there who do not use power tools. You know... the old idea of building an entire house without using a single screw or nail.

    I don't think that modern woodworking needs to be differentiated from traditional woodworking but I think it is good to differentiate traditional woodworking from modern. I think that the same holds true for photography. It is not necessary to differentiate modern/digital photography from traditional/wet photography but it is good to differentiate traditional from modern.

    In the early days of digital technology, it was digital photography that was differentiated from the traditional. Now, it is the other way around.

    Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Each has its own place but, all things equal, neither is a replacement for the other.
     
  25. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    You've very eloquently expressed what I have always felt but was unable to put concisely into words.

    digital imagery is definitely NOT photography. The two may have a similar end product but they are not similar activities.


    I guess I would just call what I do 'photography' and leave it at that. (and what I do emphatically does NOT involve digital imagery in anyway). If the average joe doesn't comprehend that photography entails film and chemicals and a darkroom and silver salts....if the average joe thinks digital imagery when I say 'photography'...oh, well. That is the average joe's problem. Not mine.
     
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  26. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    I have called it "Classic Film Photography" on my website, and I have included an article I wrote about processing film. Maybe one should spend more time educating the end consumer instead of fighting the usual bullshit wars about digital/versus analog and emanating this aura of elitism which in turn does not accomplish anything. It's not going to sell you more prints or getting you any more attention. The one thing I know for a fact is that the people that are buying my prints are NOT photographers and therefore they don't give a rats ass about whether I get myself poisoned in chemicals or I'm playing with Photoshop until I go blind. I do it the way I do it because I enjoy it and also enjoy teaching others how it's done.

    Digital photography IS photography whether you like it or not. It's different but is still photography. Let it coexist and don't concern yourself.

    State clearly how you do things, take pride in it, don't expect to be patted on the back and try to deliver nice images to back it all up.

    Max