Photo by Ray Potes
After writing about darkroom stuff it made me think about when I started to cross over from shooting film to digital. I found this thing I wrote in 2013 about experiencing psychosis from the switch. Click here to read that.
For me, when I started hanging prints from digital cameras next to prints from hi res scans next to prints from the darkroom and pretty much no one could tell or didn’t care to notice, that’s when I started thinking it was ok.
Sure maybe people did notice and didn’t want to say, but at that time people around me had no problems telling me a photo I made didn’t work, or if I should have chosen a different cover for a zine, or if I printed something too dark or too light, or whatever. I always invited comments and criticisms. Yet no one ever asked what cameras or film stocks. Those conversations happened at coffee shops and bars with other photographers.
I would think at least the gallery people wanted to know. When you sell these things you always put down the paper stock which sort of implies the process. Like this, “Silver Gelatin Print” or “Digital C-Print”. Technically, you could use “silver print” for C-Print because there is silver in a chromogenic print. But no, it wasn’t a big deal what you shot it on, no one cares. I guess that’s what goes in the “Artist Statement” but I never had one of those.
Maybe some folks just assumed that we were all film and all darkroom. I could see how that assumption was made because we published black and white zines and had our own black and white lab.
Also, some of the photographers in our early issues like Vic Blue and Brian David Stevens were submitting digital photos. I didn’t know till years later and published them with the same assumptions as every body else.
I am not telling you to cross over. Do whatever it is you love to do. But the game has changed. When people say they love film, sometimes they are referring to camera mistakes and darkroom misshaps and imperfections. When I was in school, that was an F grade. F for fail. We had to make perfect negs and perfect prints. Same when working in commercial labs. So for some the switch to digital meant getting closer to that perfection, easier.
Just saying and sharing my thoughts. I know some will want to battle about it. For me there is also cost and convenience factors. What do you think?