Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
I took part in a debate on another forum a few years ago (a forum of mainly digital users). Someone asked "Who prints their pictures?". The conclusion was that only about a quarter of the respondents printed and the rest just looked at them on their computers, digital frames, or uploaded them to websites.
I've got several digital cameras - and picture taking widgets in phones and tablets and things.... They'll be sticking them in toothbrushes and hair dryers next. I never, ever print any image from any of them.... They are great for creating illustrations to accompany scribblings on the Internet, great for recording the dismantling of proper cameras so I can remember how to put them back together again... .

For printing I personally want a negative.

I think much of the reason for the demise of traditional photography was aggressive marketing convincing people that using your iPhone to capture of your drunken work mates at the office party which you then emailed and uploaded to YouTube is actually 'photography'. Of course it is, of a sort, but it was never the reason why people were buying fibre based baryta paper and slow black and white films.

In reality the number of people creating pictures to hang on the wall is probably very much a minority interest and always has been - 20 years ago office party goers used instamatic cameras and sent their films to the local mini lab - now they use their phone and avoid the prints altogether...

As for those of us who wish to make prints for aesthetic or artistic intent - it is unfortunate that so many seemed get caught up in the idea that cameras are a fashion accessory and film photography is outdated technology for nerds. I would say it was the other way around - rushing out to buy the latest widget suggests an interest in widgets that exceeds the desire to be creative and take pictures. That seems the more 'nerdy' behaviour, to me. Of course digital does offer great advantages in many areas and I'm not criticising photographers who want to use these advantages that digital can offer, creatively or professionally, but I am critical of the aggressive marketing by widget sellers who were so determined that analogue must die and everyone has to get 'with it' and buy some trendy new equipment. Alas Jessops have blood on their hands in this regard. They tried to kill film and become widget sellers.... But then found themselves unable to compete with supermarkets and online sores.

Consider the shops that serve artists. Most towns seem to manage to support one - and they are like Aladdin's caves, packed with wonderful things. When acrylic paints appeared on the market (cleaner, safer, easier to use, better colours and cheaper than traditional oil) they appeared on the shelves alongside oil paints, not instead. There seems to have been no equivalent of the anti film hysteria that was spread by those marketing digital. 'oil is dead, all hail the new technology! Only nerds use oil paints!' Art shops stock whatever artists want to create pictures - and accept charcoal, pen and inks, acrylic paints and laser jet printer paper along side each other as equally valid techniques for creating pictures.

I wonder if some of the old traditional photographic shops may have managed to hang on in this way? A small number, possibly, but alas Jessops and the like seemed determined to swallow them all up before jumping off the cliff themselves, so we may never know.....