Has film and silver gelatin prints finally become marginalized?
I guess I never thought it would come to this but I am coming to the conclusion that traditional photography is becoming marginalized to the point of becoming the poor step sister to digital and except for some 35 mm film and paper will be a thing of the past in a few years.
Every new magazine issue, every blog I read, every forum brings forth another group of photographers ditching traditional for digital. I have talked to two photographers who are getting out of ULF, one who is going to scan film from MF and make digital ULF negatives for contact printing and the other who decided for the cost of 2 years worth of film he can get a top of the line epson printer and work from smaller negs.
In a couple of years I would imagine that magazines such as B&W and the UK Black and White will carry 90% digital portfolios with the occasional nod to an old timer still working with film.
As everything accelerates to digital, due to the rock bottom costs of production, almost all new images being sold will be a digital print.
I never thought I would say it, but I can see a day when galleries, publications and photographers will ridicule gelatin silver (more so then already) as a flawed, inferior final product compared to a digital print. It is certainly a flawed methodology to produce a print in the eyes of the majority of photographers today.
Now one can argue, "but what about archival standards"? Well, to be honest, in this day and age, I don't think anyone outside of another traditionalist really gives a rats ass about how long a print lasts. Regardless if it costs 20, 50 or 250 dollars.
I had the idea that no matter how entrenched digtial becomes there would always be an appreciation for the tradition, the handcrafted nature of a "real" gelatin silver print. I just don't see it that way anymore. I just see the ever increasing push for digital in magazines and web sites basically poisoning the well for anyone new to even consider analog. At one of the local Barnes and Nobel stores they had one single book about darkroom printing, among at least 100 volumes and multiple copies about everything digital.
With no new cameras being made for entry level photographers, no information in magazines, no books one can look at in the bookstore, who is going to buy the film and paper? I guess I need to not really care about availability of film and paper and when it finally runs its course I can start looking at DSLRs and printers. Untill then enjoy the ride while it lasts.
Hate to be such a pessimist which I am usually not. I have been in a kind of funk the last couple of weeks which is probably clouding my thinking. Maybe some one can blow some sunshine my way.