Taking a stand...
We talk about this subject matter all the time - yet do nothing about it.
I have decided to take a stand, even if it hurts in my pocket!
From January 2011 I will no longer be part of exhibits where digital prints are shown.
For years I have thought about this and have finally come to the conclusion that digital prints lower the value of photography in general.
They also tend to bring down the prices of hand made prints.
Like Ralph Gibson, a well known American photographer in New York, I believe that digital imaging has not yet produced any unique master pieces.
Until then - in my mind at least - digital prints are irrelevant and are only suited for graphic arts and for less serious photography.
Therefore - from January of next year - my photographs will only show in exhibits featuring hand made processes.
For me I believe this is the right decision at the present time.
Good for you Per, I hope that it works out well for you and I suspect that it will. Your prints are very beautiful and your compositions are masterful. Keep teaching and providing fine examples!
But... I note that some of your analogue prints are derived from digital images... do you see any inconsistency? Or will you be working henceforth entirely from film-derived images?
My policy has always been (since c. 1990) not to co-exhibit in mixed-media or traditional brush media exhibitions, nor in any gallery seeking higher than 40% commission (some now charge 60%). All of my photography to date has been produced to the Ilfochrome process or RC/FB Ilford papers (for B&W work). I recently experimented with digital (giclée) prints from Provia 100F (scan/print) transparency and the result has been very good to ultra-high quality print media; this will now form an ongoing observational experiment as to the archival stability of framed giclée prints.
You might be careful with the claim from Ralph Gibson. Annie Leibovitz embraced digital and digi-blending, producing some profound images (such as the striking digi-blend of QEII against a brooding, stormy English sky) and they're selling for many thousands. They're either skillfully produced masterpieces built on a well-honed traditional photography skillbase, or collectable kitsch. What will it be?
I wish you the best of luck, even though I think digital photography is just a valid form of photography as analog. I've seen some good and bad analog and digital prints (and made some of each myself, mostly bad ones, though :D ). One of my photography instructors who taught at the community college I recently graduated from made some of the best digital prints I've seen, and I find them just as beautiful as prints made from a darkroom (Ive seen some of his "real" black and white prints he made years ago, and they're great as well).
Digital prints might lower the value of photography, but I've always been under the assumption that people sell digital prints for less because there's less hands-on time with them. You just tweak them to your liking on the computer and have them printed by someone else who ships them to your doorstep. It's less intimate than making your own analog prints (I know some people do their on digital printing, but it's so much more convenient to have someone else do it). I think if digital photographers valued their digital prints as much as analog photographers valued theirs, the digital prints might sell for more and not devalue the analog prints. (This paragraph has only been my personal experience with people I've went to school with and spoken to about digital photography. I've done no real research on the matter, nor do i intend to, so this may be a slightly educated babbling :) )
I think this is just a difference in opinion thing, and I hope this doesnt start a digital bashing fest, or an Existing Light bashing fest.
I really do wish you the best of luck
BTW, I dont have a digital camera anymore. I sold mine a while back on the auction site because I never used it
I don't think it would matter to me if the digital prints were labelled as such. Other than that I might have mixed feelings. BTW this thread is probably going to blow up into a D vs A flame fest and end up in the soapbox..
Your opening sentence, Per, mentions "subject matter".
I would say that is far, far more important than the medium.
So i will continue to go to see images and not care about how they were put to paper.
On one side I can see your point of view. On the other side I can see caring about the materials and the process and how that plays out for the future.
Originally Posted by Q.G.
Digital does cheapen things and prior history has shown that to be true - images are now completely commodified.
Are such isolationist approaches productive? I'm sorry, but my initial thought was simply 'then fewer will see your work and be exposed to what film can do'.
I don't see any value in condemning digital photography. Arguing that it hasn't produced any masterpieces seems as useless as arguing any form of art hasn't produced any. It also dismisses the work of many very talented artist. I imagine painters had similar opinions of photographers in the past. Each is an art form which will find its own following.
Edit: Digital photography and the ability to digitalize images seem to be grouped together. As soon as people had the ability to make an image digital - be it by scanning a print or taking a digital photo - that work was a commodity. The ability to copy work has nothing to do with digital photography vs traditional photography, only with the format to which either can be converted and distributed.
That's all good in theory - but in practice digital has shown itself to be the great commodifier. I don't know if you've noticed, but since the flood gates of "photography" have been unleashed by digital SLRs, we're now awash in a sea of crap - much more so than before.
Originally Posted by Brian Legge
I applaud your decision and admire your integrity.