Friday, November 27, 2009

Why people use plastic cameras

Amazing! Douglas Wolk has sharply critiqued the major problem of digital photography without mentioning photography once.


Stan B. said...

Aint it the truth... Decades of cussing the dark in vain trying to get the perfect B&W print, and along comes digital to save us with perfection. Perfectly vapid, perfectly sterile, perfectly... perfect.

J. Karanka said...

Aren't black blacks and white whites the mantra of the digital era?

Btw, the compression example is really good in the link. I was wondering why most modern records sounded to me annoyingly 'dry'. This was quite clear though when some clubs implement compressors, quite obviously changing songs you knew.

Bob Rogers said...

The NPR piece was a great read, but I'm not so sure that, in the photography world, "analog" should be equated with "imperfect". A lot of folks writing about film photography today seem to think "film" equals "sloppy".

That said, digital media (video, audio, photography) suffers from over-production which cooks the life out of everything. But I wouldn't describe that as "perfection".

Ben said... pictures are perfect??! (Not. The concept of "perfect" anything is silly.)

Blake Andrews said...

Film doesn't equal "imperfect" but there are many mistakes exclusive to film that are beyond one's control that are often sort of wonderful. Lightleaks or development streaks or mis-exposed frames or improperly advanced film or screwed up development or whatever. Add the element of plastic lens and inconsistent printing and even more control is potentially lost.

Of course mistakes are possible shooting digitally too, and one could even argue it encourages mistakes because there is no penalty for making extra shots. But the temptation to correct or eliminate these mistakes is always there and the technology has made those corrections easier than ever. I think this is where the music analogy applies best.

Mistakes are like gene mutations. Without them there is no evolution.

Chris said...

Some mistakes are just garbage, though. After yet another roll came out of my Holga with hideous, ruinous scratches across the frame I decided to take drastic measures. I took a hack saw to the camera to make it accommodate a medium format back, and am now hoping that my "higher tech" Holga will give me the good kind of mistakes without wrecking the negatives.