The time they have changed
Wow, what a great thread, I hardly know where to start. First, I think f64 formed as a later result of two diverse reactions to the invention of photography. First there was, ''That's end of painting, painting is dead,'' and there was, ''Photography will never replace painting. It's monochrome and lifeless.'' Baudelaire referred to photography as ''The humble servant of the arts.'' But for many pursuing photography, it gave them a chance to produce images as well defined and rendered than those produced by drawing, panting, etc, and they emulated the art forms they saw, which by the way, in the 1850s onward werepretty corny and pretentious by later standards, the impressionists not withstanding. The F64 group was right, I think to call for more integrity in using photography in a way that imitates no other art forms.
Today art movements are not so popular, I think, because everything goes. I teach in Brooklyn College and we have a vibrant MFA program, where one sees everything from straight painting to strange video techniques and conceptual installations and performance art. And of course digital photography.
And here we have the paradox, that digital photography, in conjunction with Photoshop and other software, is more like painting than ever, and that's what a lot of us have always been taught was undesirable. I do believe anything goes and I have the wonderful human trait of accepting some things and rejecting others. And I respectfully disagree that digital photography is not a medium. Color slides had to be projected to be fully appreciated and digital photo files look great when projected. And while the image may exist in a latent state before being projected or printed, that is very much true of analogue photographs until they are developed. And in case of negatives, while we photographers can read them, they are not usually the final medium, but, like a digital file, an end to a means.
I one time said that I take pictures so that I will have something to print. That's how much I like the analogue medium. I do use digital photography, and I teach it. I know that Ansel was interested in what was then thought of as electronic photography, and one of his students told me that Ansel said, had he been born in later times he would have pursued video. That is apocryphal, but I believe it.