Originally Posted by Maris
I always enjoy your philosophy, though I wonder if I am sophisticated enough to prefer the "light formed" image versus the "marked" image. I am sure I enjoy both.
Because I have history as a printer, I have always been aware of the difference between something I prepared plates for to print as reproduction... and the original. Even if the "original" was itself one of an edition of prints.
A serigraph by Henri Matisse could captivate me. I would accept a detectable silk screen pattern, knowing it as signature of authenticity*. But halftone dots would immediately reveal it to me as a ruse if the example was a lithographically reproduced poster.
*I know Matisse' simple shapes could be easily forged, I'm not that talented an art assayer.
So part of my manifesto is that I will not produce work with halftone dots, including the stochastic patterns that can simulate grain and make it seem "real". If you see grain in my work it will be magnifiable to the limit of a lens.
The other day I went over to Photoworks in Glen Echo, MD to cut down some 20x24 sheets of paper to 8x10. I don't have a RotaTrim which can handle that big a sheet.
They have a show up by Harvey Kupferberg, a gentleman whom I remember taking a workshop with some 20 years ago. This show is quite apropos of the current discussion as Harvey has digital prints hanging next to gelatin silver ones made from 4x5 film negatives. The subject matter and lighting conditions are virtually the same for all the photographs. Harvey is quite a masterful printer using either technology. I was able to pick out the digital prints by looking at them without reading the technical data. The silver prints were always just a teeny weeny bit better.
I have always said that when digital technology produces prints as fine as wet chemistry does, I'll go exclusively digital. It's not quite there yet, but it's close. If you're in the DC area, go see Harvey's show. It's quite instructive, and also inspiring as Mr. Kupferberg does beautiful work in both mediums.
This is very well said. I don't do any digital work, but think it has freed (forced?) me to alter how I see my personal film work. Rather than embracing the repeatability aspect of photography, I am now more drawn to make images which are, by design and technique, one of a kind. Hand-painting, hand-coated emulsions, bromoils, selective toning, and distressed negatives have been my primary interests, for a few years.
Originally Posted by Rafal Lukawiecki
Also, rather than disparaging digital, bear in mind that the technology advances have had a positive effect on keeping many alternative processes alive; indeed, the ability to create a hybrid negative has helped keep many of the contact processes viable and, I would guess, there are more practitioners than there were 20 years ago.
It is an exciting time for photography. Those of us using traditional methods will be more appreciated as our work is recognized as being produced by "craftsmen" (in the most gracious use of the word), while digital imagery becomes more closely associated with "technicians".
Rubbish. Of course it exists. The very fact that a digital file could store all those things demonstrates digital IS a form of media like analog tape, like acetate or like paper. Digital photography is a discipline and a digital photograph IS a photograph. Media - a tool used to store and deliver information or data. Look it up.
Originally Posted by BetterSense
A digital file is just information. However, a digital photograph when printed is an object like a painting. Negatives are objects as well as information as are prints.
To Maris, If one were to make a photogram of a twig, laying flat on the paper, that might satisfy your definition of a photograph as factual evidence, easily read for what it is. Of course the photogram would leave out all sorts of information about the color and and values of the twig. And a photogram on paper sensitized with cyanotype chemistry would produce colors totally untrue to the twig or the light hitting it. Then if one were to place that same twig on its end, the resulting image would very likely not be read as a twig at all. A photograph is a rendering, even when done in the most documentary fashion, there is always some departure from truth. There are always decisions made by the photographer that are analogous to mark making.
Eddie, I agree with you, very much, that digital, in many ways, has helped analogue, despite leading to the lamentable loss of a prior market, which has equally made analogue life harder in many other ways.
Originally Posted by eddie
Let me stress, please, that in no way do I disparage digital. I am genuinely impressed with the technology and, above all, its potential. I prefer film and paper, but I very much support and appreciate digital. My remarks are only concerned with my expectation that it can deliver new forms of expression, no longer restricted by the creative/restrictive limitations of analogue, which I think might be slowing its development down. I would not like anyone to think that I was thinking of digital photography, or its practitioners, as inferior in any way—quite the opposite, I hold those in high regard, and I only have the best hopes and wishes for them.