Saturday, August 11, 2012

I'm Sorry

I'm sorry. I have tried my best. I have tried carrying my digital camera with me everywhere this summer. I have shot thousands upon thousands of photos with it. My camera has few limits. I can shoot and shoot to my heart's content. I can apply any effect. I can zoom hither and yon.

Although the results have sometimes been rewarding, the overall effect is one of emptiness. I look at my digital photos on a screen and they remind me of stills from a video game, and they feel just about as consequential. I feel I could erase every one with a button click just as effortlessly as I made them. It would be like swatting a mosquito. No big deal. How much easier my life would be if I felt something for that screen! And I've tried. I just can't go there.

This isn't meant to be a film vs digital rant. I know that battle has long been settled. I know digital is the future, the present even. I know most others have moved on and that I'll be left behind. No, this isn't an argument meant to sway opinion. Instead it's just an honest observation from a long-time photographer. Digital capture has no soul. It doesn't feel real to me and I doubt it ever will.

20 comments:

SR said...

Blake,
But it is a digital vs. film rant ..... I too , like Elliott Erwitt and his T-shirt= "digital manipulation is killing photography".... firmly am entrenched for better or worse at present in the analog world where painting with light and determining the moment of capture really matters.... if and when film or chemistry ceases to exist then maybe I'll get a digital camera and try to keep doing the same.... maybe.

rlfsoso said...

well, my sentiment exactly. For me – and very personal – it involves the handling of my film camera, sth. I have not been able to feel with any digital camera, a certain haptic quality. With a film camera I feel at home – even when continuing hybrid – though I refrain from doing more than I'd do in the wet darkroom. I have to admit that this feeling touches on the automatic/autofocus type of film camera and just carries over? I don't know. Anyway I will continue to use film in my ancient Nikon F2 Photomic and am in the process to enlarge my kit with a ETRSi.

FĂ©lixPagaimo said...

The problem it's not the format itself, it's what you do with it. Certainly if you shot "thousands of photos" you end up feeling life that, I know the feeling. Shoot moments that deserve being shot, not everything. Imagine there's film inside your digital camera.

;)

Joseph Bayot said...

Go with your gut! Photography, to me, is about the experience. If something messes that experience up for you, move away from it quickly.

There are many forum and blog posts that talk about making digital capture feel more analog or making digital images look more film-like. I say, "Why even bother? If you want to feel as though you're shooting film or you want your photos to look film-like, just shoot film!"

That said, will we still get to see some of these digital captures? That's what *I* care about =)

Chris Bennett said...

Don't apologize.

lensfler said...

I agree with Chris. Don't apologize. Sticking to film is still, and forever will be legitimate choice in photography. The worst thing that could happen to you is to be in the minority, and that isn't rely that bad.
But whatever you do, I honesty suggest you don't leave home without, at least a small compact digital camera in your pocket or bag. You never know ...

Kaushal Parikh said...

Digital is business, Film is passion!

Blake Andrews said...

Judging by comments so far I think some may be misinterpreting my post. It was meant to be satirical. I am actually a big proponent of digital capture.

Anonymous said...

Digital sux

Vladimir said...

''Judging by comments so far I think some may be misinterpreting my post. It was meant to be satirical. I am actually a big proponent of digital capture.''
and - this is satirical comment after satirical post? :)

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Ben said...

LOL. Blake, I think your last comment is satirical. You gave digital a shot (pun intended) and it doesn't work for you. Move on. You will probably be coating your own plates one of these days. This subject always gets a reaction, doesn't it?

Jason said...

I am so confused.

Blake Andrews said...

Jason, I'm sorry.

Zisis Kardianos said...

"Blame it on the bad luck and lack of inspiration Blake."
"Shoot digital, don't shoot the digital"

and since you were never afraid to stand naked in front of your audience, like a mythic Eggleston in a red lighted darkroom, shoot film in the next 2-3 months in the same (presumably) leirure way that you were shoting digital, make an honest rough edit, show them and ask your audience to decide which sucks the most.
And then you may be surprised by the results.

Driver8 said...

"It was meant to be satirical. I am actually a big proponent of digital capture."

No way you're using a zoom lens.

Saikat Samaddar said...

i think digital and film both are indispensible..

B said...

Hah.

Blake, I like your output.

Input... do what you need to do.

Just please don't stop outputting. That's the custard.

Nick Turpin said...

Why do you stop at the screen with your digital pictures? film or print scans look crap on a screen too.

You need to see some really beautiful prints from digital files to make a real comparison.

I was amazed when I saw George Giorgios prints at Format Festival last year, they were painterly.

You need to make the same effort with your digital files as you do with your negatives.

Blake Andrews said...

Good points Nick.