I don't disagree, except as much as you have 21st century photographers trying to achieve certain looks, and that look has already been defined and formulated, yet they want to re-invent the wheel to get there. It's a bit of a chicken/egg problem made worse by the speed at which trends cycle. You have people today doing a lot of things to imitate things done in the past, and while they may be arriving at the same destination via a different route, they're claiming superiority and innovation when in fact it is equivalence and mimicry. I'm not saying don't get out there and play with your tools, don't make mistakes, don't experiment - I'm just saying if you want to experiment, know WHY the old thing you're trying to deviate from was done in the first place. Today's wet plate work is a great example. A lot of folks are using it and producing intentionally sloppy pours of collodion and streaky, blotchy development as a counterpoint to the clinical exactitude of the digital inkjet print and to a lesser extent the silver-gelatin enlargement. They're doing it in contrast to that precision as a way to point out the uniqueness and organic quality of the images they're making, and in contrast to the traditional way of making wet-plate images where the photographers from the 1860s to the 1920s making ambrotypes and tintypes would go for as clean and flawless a pour and development as possible, and then mask the edges of their plates where things were less than perfect.
Originally Posted by ntenny
All very fine and good - you know what you're doing and why you're doing it. But trying to imitate that with some other technique for the sake of doing it with the other technique be it chemical or digital does become a case of making a violin sound like a tuba because you can. You're not doing it to make a statement - you're just trying to latch on to a trend. I think it's very hard to establish what "breaking the rules" with digital media consists of right now because they're still in their infancy and the rules are not yet established. So we're seeing a lot of folks doing things that break the old rules but don't have a good explanation for why they're breaking the old rule, and why the old rule should be broken. That's certainly true for things like print presentation - the old rule is still "bring me 20+ matted prints in pristine mats with well-cut windows, large margins, properly exposed/printed, etc". No reason why I can think of that that rule should be thrown out yet. But you can certainly try to make a case for an individual rejection of it - "my work is mounted on driftwood because I want to make a comment on the transient and impermanent nature of existence" or "I'm rejecting the clinical aesthetic of presenting work in mats and frames because they serve to erect an elitist barrier between the audience and the artwork". But don't just show up with a box of loose prints that says you don't give a shit about your own presentation.