This thread prompted me to google up this interview with Ralph
and his reply to the question "Have you ever used digital?"
Ralph: I have I have a wonderful relationship with Leica and they send me things to experiment with. Iíve used the large S1, that big studio camera, and Iíve used the little Digilux. I have four Macintosh computers in my studio as we speak right now. Digital photography is about another kind of information. Digital photography seems to excel in all those areas that Iím not interested in. Iím interested in the alchemy of light on film and chemistry and silver. When Iím taking a photograph I imagine the light rays passing through my lens and penetrating the emulsion of my film. And when Iím developing my film I imagine the emulsion swelling and softening and the little particles of silver tarnishing.
Chris/Larry: So youíre not just previsualizing the image, youíre visualizing the process?
Ralph: Iím communicating with my materials. Itís different than previsualizing. If you talk to a sculptor about how he looks at his rock or wood, you realize that he has a special relationship to his materials. In music itís called attack. A concert violinist once told me that if Rubinstein came in and hit concert A, it would sound different than if Horiwitz came in and hit the same note. And a good musician will recognize which one was playing based on the performerís attack. When you look at de Kooningís brush stroke you can see the energy of the bristles of the brush right in the stroke of the paint. This is another example of attack. So Iíve applied some of these principals to my relationship to my materials and I think of them with great respect. I think film has more intelligence than I have. I could not make a roll of film. I learned this when I was an assistant to Dorothea Lange, this incredible respect for materials, almost homage. But anyway, the big emphasis in digital photography is how many more million pixels this new model has than the competitorís model. Itís about resolution, resolution, resolution, as though that were going to provide us with a picture that harbored more content, more emotional power. Well in fact. Itís very good for a certain kind of graphic thing in color but I donít necessarily do that kind of photograph. So when it comes to digital, I have to say that digital just doesnít look the way photography looks, it looks like digital. However, I strongly suspect some kid is going to come along with a Photoshop filter called Tri-X, and you just load that, and youíve got your self something that looks like Photography (laughs). Itís about the same relationship that videotape has to cinema. Digital imaging and photography share similar symbiosis. I think itís a mutual coexistence situation. I donít think they even compare.
Read the whole interview.