Just wanted to get the thread back on track a little;
Coming from a 100% digital process to a mix of digital and hybrid processing, then starting with 100% analog process this fall, here are my initial findings:
With digital, you can get get exactly what you want.
What I mean by that, is that you can fix ANY error you EVER made, _any error_, be it tonal errors, exposure, contrast, heck, I've even made shoes two number smaller on the model, because they were too big. New background? No problem. Flat hair? no problem, the liquefy-tool and other evil things can make a foul 220 pound whale look buxom and hot. (and 20 years younger). You can make people fly, create fake reflections, even create fake light sources or make the eyes look like they were made of the finest crystal class you ever saw.
Then squeeze out 200 prints in a batch on your computer, done.
One of the most famous portrait photographers in my country works mainly analog, all his works are expensive, but the silver gelatins have another "0" on the price tag compared to the digital prints.
Silver gelatin is unique, every prints is unique, even from the same negative in the same session, the dodging and burning will be similar, but never 100% equal. There are also a limited number of prints available/made and THAT's what makes them special/more expensive imo.
- At least when the guy producing the print itself has proper darkroom skills, unlike me
The general public is oblivious for the most part though, they look at the content (their child or their dog, whatever), not the medium it is printed on, except if they asked for semi matte and got glossy. They never ponder on tonality and very rarely marvel at grain (if it is not so much that it's getting in the way of their brat's toothless smile that is ).
I think, in time, that silver gelatin -works- will be a sought-after specialty to the general public as well, much like the "western style" photos taken with large format cameras at fairs they have here and there. Those are super expensive, but people love the look and gladly pay out of their a$$es and wait for 1 hour 30 minutes to get them.
I view the analog process and prints very differently from digital and even hybrid processing.
I do hybrid when I have no idea how to make that final look in the dark-room, for convenience and speed or if I fouled up or need to change/fix stuff.
There is no room for much error in the darkroom, stray hairs and ugly background will be in the final print, so it demands a hell of a lot more from me as a photographer imo.
(but then again, I don't really know much more than burning and dodging, contrast filters and the odd double exposure (like cloning) in the dark room at this point )