Digital seems to have killed the photographer in me....
I am a professional image maker... portraits, commercial work, products.
I have never done anything too "glamourous" just good solid work. I have shot a couple national/global campaigns for Stanley tools. (Billed as a local job... but that is another story).
I have lost the "flow". Shooting... opening packages of processed chromes.
A regular trip into the darkroom each or every other day. Late afternoon processing and early morning printing for deadline.
There is just no joy in sitting at the computer sorting over-shot assignments because digital exposures cost you only time. The darkroom was like a church. The only distraction it offered me was the jazz on the radio, or the occasional phone call.
Editing and "processing" in the digital arena is punctuated by constant e-mails, phone calls, and the distraction of APUG and Facebook.
Perhaps I need to build a digital processing "Lightroom", where it is the business of photography only? I have tried... the flow of work from wet to dry, from unwrapping film to cutting, to culling the bad exposures down to a select 8 that the customer asked for. Darkroom work was active and regulated by the clock, and so unforgiving!! Digital is too forgiving. Throw away and image...sometimes it can be retrieved. No more color balance... grey balance with a little eyedropper.
I am going back to what actually feels like work now... not a magical alchemy of light and molecules.
That's the problem with digital. Even though I don't do this for a living, digital had killed my passion, vision, drive and creativity. It always felt stale and flat, as I was not creating anything. It's obviously not about image quality but about the process. Shooting film, exposing, controlling development, molding your negatives to your printing workflow and making that final print you can be proud of, is what makes it all special and worth the effort and dedication. Digital workflow is sterile, printing is sterile, there is no soul or feel in the process. Images may look killer but, sitting there in front of a screen and manipulating pixels, doesn't fuel the drive or improve your vision behind the camera. Most screw ups can be fixed later and that makes one VERY lazy. I was basically running around doing snapshots, which unequivocally would end up in the trash. Even after manipulating the few keepers, I would doubt myself and whether they could be even better if I turned myself into a Photoshop wizard. At the of the day, it was all computer work and little about photography.
I guess I am lucky that I don't need to do this for a living, as I have no professional requirements to shoot digital and sit for hours on end in front of a screen.
Process oriented people need to take pleasure in the process. Getting wet, opening packages of film, loading cameras, mixing solutions, holding rolls of film up to a light or looking with a loupe on a light table and a thousand other things. Sitting at a key board isn't an enjoyable process for me.
@ dpurdy... Looking at your work made my day today!
Oh no! Not another digital vs. analog mile long thread!
Photography is ultimately about results, not processes. I find that both darkroom and digital "lightroom" processes bug me (they are daunting and time-consuming), but I like B&W film results. I don't like digital's plasticky, rubbery look and lack of texture. No amount of post-processing seems to fix that, although I am not a workflow guru in either. Perhaps someone knows how. I've seen Silver efex results, it's not the same thing.
The process of picture taking is almost exactly the same (just as demanding) though with either, with a the digital's advantage of chimping, and the disadvantage of lacking nice affordable rangefinders. I don't buy the cheapening argument. If you are in it for results (good photos that happen rarely), and not screwing around with processes and testing/pixel peeping, you could produce equally good photos given enough time if digital's look is acceptable to you.
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I find it is useful to separate free time space from work space, no matter what. I'm a programmer by day. When I was working at home for a while, I worked exclusively on my laptop. The laptop didn't have anything 'fun' on it - it was just a work machine. I often worked disconnected from the internet to avoid the temptation to be distracted, only going online when I needed to look up reference material.
My productivity, focus and happiness doing the work went way up. I think your idea about a dedicated space may be worth exploring.
I disagree. A photograph may be about the results, but photography as a practice is very much about the process (whether it be simple or complicated) of acheiving a desired result. Whether the photographer obssesses, or even cares, about the processes is relative.
Originally Posted by bwrules
I think the OP articulated an understandable difference between the two fields that many can relate to.
One of the great appeals of the darkroom is that it equals time away from the computer. A machine which is ubiquitous in many people's lives. Stepping away from a machine often associated with work is ambrosia.
I do IT work so anything away from these backlit screens is a wonder. The darkroom (although my current residence doesn't permit one) is exactly what I need at the end of a work day.
I didn't start a (another) debate about which is better... it's the "flow" of work.
Economically, the barriers to entry have fallen, the ability to do competent work (on the surface) has been removed.
There are too many small studios and people with blogs saying they are commercial photographers that are not.
The ability to earn a decent living has been damaged by too many putting shingle out by undercutting the establishment, yet they do not realize that another is waiting in line to do the same.
I do think a return to film work might be my last salvation to differentiate myself form the 20 something DSLR "chimps".