I have one problem with economic thinking. It is true that once acquired, if no proration of costs for the extra expense in buying the camera are concerned that didgital eliminates the cost of film and processing. If you do prorate the cost the equation changes. It is undeniably true that digtal has a great deal going for it, in fact an almost impossimle edge to beat for advertising and editorial work in terms of quickness of results and money saved. Digital did not start with cameras it started in the graphic arts industry. I have a daughter with 20+years of experience using first graphic arts cameras and hand retouching and then digital. On big budget jobs such as advertising seeing the image almoat immediately is far better than polaroids and shooting a ridiculous amount of film, waiting for processing etc.
Consumer use of digital, I believe, has benefitted as much from the availibility of powerful PC's as it has from scanners and then digital cameras at relalitivly low prices. A lost cost digital camera that is well designed may serve the casual snapshooter as well as film, With the internet they can be shared with others fo almost nothing. I believe that for people that print
their own work the biggest advantage is the ability to see on the monitor what effect various changes make. This elimates an awful lot of learning how to print, particularly for those working in color. Detracting from that. for the careful printer, is the PITA of systems calibaration. Material costs for printing are exhorbitant. From an LE standpoint digital may well equal, perhaps even exceed, at its best, what can be done with an optimally processed and RC, that is toned in the case of b&w. print.
Silver gelatin prints are capable of stunning beauty. They can offer a very good LE. Color RA4 has much improved in the last 10 years as far as LE.
I believe we all have to come to grips with our own level of what is convenient. What materials cost we are willing, or able. to spend....how many prints we wish to make etc. If we were totally dedicated to quality and making what we considered to be art and we wished it to last we would all be working in platinum, carbon, carbro etc. How many prctictioners are there world wide that can make their own 3 color carbon or tri chrome-carbroprints and do so? When one looks at advertisments made during the during the first half of the 20th century that were made as 3
color carbon, if their reaction is similar to mine, digital prints in color have not improved the state of the art.. Dye transfer was only a easier way to achieve similar quality at a lot less expense. And so it goes. For me, I am a sloth. I will stick to RA4 and toned fiber based B&W.
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
I agree with most of what is said above, especially that digital tech has its place and that its advance just makes our stuff more valuable, although the "supply crunch" is sure aggravating. But I do not understand how the archival considerations can be dismissed.
If you accept that a well crafted silver emulsion print properly toned yadayada.... could last for up to 500 years before showing any signs of fading or deteriorating..... then,
Look back in history 500 years. What was going on then ? The discovery of the New World and the power struggles of medieval monarchies. What exists today, that we can examine from that period ? There are not many, but there are buildings still standing and art works, literature on original parchments, furniture and tools and weapons. We have a pretty good image of life and society at that time.
Now, can any of you think of a single thing, A N Y thing, that was produced after 1970, that is liable to still be around in the year 2505. There probably are a few things, besides what might only exist buried in a landfill, but that list is very short. I can not help but think, that when historians in the 26th century look back at the period following the two world wars and the depression, (the first half of the twentieth century) and find a blank spot in the record, they will wonder: "Who were these people ?"
Corny as it may sound: Aside from all of the personal preference reasons expressed above, I think that the work that we all do is ......
"Now, can any of you think of a single thing, A N Y thing, that was produced after 1970, that is liable to still be around in the year 2505."
Jim, digital is the saviour of analog film. Now less film is wasted on nothings leaving more film to be used. Kodak was actually buying train-car loads of silver per week, how long before it ran out? Now that it is not being wasted it should last quite some time.
Have you noticed that the glut of LF gear on the market has ended and the prices are climbing again? Personal people do not have budgets and deadlines to meet, they have their own passions to satisfy. There will now be a very LARGE niche market, more than enough to keep small specialty companies up and running.
Don't worry, take pictures.
I am not sure this is really true. There are many more 'conservators' (ie regular people with disposable income) available now than ever before. It sounds dumb but I bet in 500 years there will be several collections of 'star wars' figures in good condition.
Originally Posted by Timothy
art is about managing compromise
I don't have much to add that hasn't been said, but I think it's just a case of shifting markets (and I don't mean that in a purely economical sense) - the cultural significance of silver gelatin printing (and traditional color) has already shifted. Where once the art world might have still unconsciously linked them to the world of advertising and commercial/editorial work, that can't be said anymore.
Anyone, these days, could throw together a 'book' with InDesign, or fake traditional printmaking processes - but I can still find thousands of people producing artists' books by hand and any number of print shops still using the old ways.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Well, I agree with everything most have said.
Here is a ray of positive hope.
I just had my first show open in a very small gallery down here in Eastern North Carolina. This is not a "big deal" place, but I was really nervous about how my work would be received. I worked hard on the photographs that I presented. My exposure and printing was the best that I had ever done in my life. I included a small framed artist and process statement that clearly described that my prints were traditional gelatin silver prints taken with a film camera and processed in chemistry. At the opening reception this past Friday, several people came up to me and said "wow! these are far better then digital. Also, one print sold in the first hour.... so, go figure... Maybe if guys like us do the best quality work we can do, present it well, describe our process and put the work out there for all to see, we will continue to be viable...
Keep the faith
Often wrong, but never in doubt!
Fuji's film Professional Distinction Awards 2006/UK, - all images must NOW have been shot using film.
1st prize has been DOUBLET to £2000.
All the best.
That is good news!!! Do you have a web link to post?
Thanks, this article is great news about Fuji. Here is a quote from the article I found quite telling:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
"Jeanette Beattie, Marketing Manager for Fujifilm Professional Film Products explained the reasons behind the move to film only submissions: "Fujifilm Professional is dedicated to the continued production and promotion of professional film and the Fujifilm Distinctions Awards now reflects this commitment. All initiatives and promotions run by the Professional division must promote Fujifilm professional film products and users of these products."