Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
I think the bigger problem - which I did try to address (and is falling on deaf ears) is that - AS the digital medium and the ubiquity of cheap equipment informs the pool of photographic imagery inhabiting the galleries - our set of requirements for 'quality' will slowly shift to accomodate this new work and new kinds of quality that we cannot yet imagine perhaps. What WE consider high quality will become nearly invisible to others (and even to ourselves) as this happens. It's happening now in fact.
This is an irrational fear too I think; of inferior presentation becoming acceptable at such a post-apocalyptic, zombie land extreme. Yes, we have mp3s, but live performance is still as popular as ever - which is the equivalent to seeing original prints... oh no! I've unintentionally used the Ansel analogy.

But, increasingly with art photography, the book is becoming almost more important than seeing original prints. It helps that people are fetishising them - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt7HhRMUUxY - I've actually played with the idea of selling a few books to buy this. There isn't really an equivalent to the book presentation in music (vinyl is an underground on/off trend and the CD is almost obsolete). I'd say photography is becoming more diverse in presentation, while the images flood in. If there's one thing you can say about modern culture, it's that we want EVERYTHING. I think eventually, all the 'media' used will find its rightful place in presentation.

For example - people seem totally nonplussed by an excellent execution of a large color print coming from 8x10 film - to most people it's indistinguishable from an 8 megapixel print - perhaps due to the fact that most people are spending all their time evaluating images on computer screens. I know that may seem absurd to most - but if you actually investigate this phenomenon I think you will find it to be true and real.
I'm not sure that anyone, even vaguely interested in photography, would fail to be bowled over by a great image, that happens to be made on 8x10. And that's the point.
The viewer has needs above and beyond your need for validation in your media choice. Most people don't care that Burtynsky's images are made on 8x10 either - because it's not the point of his work.

I absolutely understand this reactionary need to impose our use of film on 'the ignorant' - to 'wake them up' to quality - but it's ALWAYS at the cost of real concerns in photography, and isn't worth it. It becomes the drive to photograph in itself and I'm not wasting my time being a crusader. My movement would begin and end with making straight photographs on film with visual immediacy - shock and awe. Naturally, an interesting image eventually leads to questions about how, why and what - this includes format and process.

Your bemusement about people not being interested in the format choice leads me to think that you expect the viewer to see it and comment on it? Why? Validation. Why do you want validation about your materials? Because they cost. Are you uncomfortable with the cost? Yes. Is that the viewer's problem? No. What is the viewer's problem? Lack of visual stimulation and enlightenment about the world, which you're not interested in showing them in front of the lens.