The Past "Photography" the Future "Imagery" Not for ME!

Started Apr 17, 2014 | Questions thread
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Re: The Past "Photography" the Future "Imagery" Not for ME!
In reply to chkproductions, Apr 17, 2014

chkproductions wrote:

First T3 did a great post with very good examples. Thank you for taking the time to pull them all together. I hope it helps convince some that image manipulation was always a part of the process in all genres of photography. How subtly or garish you want to manipulate is left up to the individual, for better or worse.

My take on this never-ending dilemma that is brought up time after time here on this website is there is an acute defensiveness from both the legacy parties of the days of film (which I am part) and the new/next/now technology centric parties (which I am part) Why, I don't know. It just always seems that one party or the other needs to be the winner.

Coming from my legacy point of view, I regard my darkroom (post-processing) experience as more of a tactile craft, much as woodworking, sculpting, painting is a tactile experience. That is what I feel I have lost here in the techno age. From the handling of film in darkness to get it into and out of film holders, the mixing and pouring of the various chemicals, the act of the agitation of tanks and trays. Then came the inspection of contact sheets that I held in my hands and a very close look at the physical film and contact sheet with a loupe. And finally the insertion of a neg in the neg holder, the racking of its focus on the easel through a fine grain focuser: the pulling a sheet of paper; the delicate technique of dodging and burning; the gentle, consistent rocking in the developer tray all while watching the hand of the timer. Finally the washing, drying and holding of the print out in the light, inspecting the results of all that work.

This may sound like some pining for the good old days lost to time, but, and it's a real but, it was a tactile process that gave me ownership of a rectangular piece of paper that I held in my hand with an image burned into it that I brought to life. My hands interacted with all those steps to come to a result. It was a craft.

Today with all the digital process I do, which I could not now do without, my work is alway separated from that old, antiquated, bothersome, yet wonderful tactile process by a piece of plastic.

I'd argue though that your viewpoint actually seems to be the opposite of the OP's, I can certainly understand a love for the craft of darkroom print making or indeed the general use of film cameras, even the idea that the craft may influence artistic choices.

His view seems to echo the common misunderstanding about the level of manipulation that has always existed in photography. Whilst avoiding manipulation can be a valid artistic decision I don't see the kind of blanket terms the OP tossed around as artistically helpful.

In this respect I think the legacy of film can for many be a negative thing, a misplaced confidence that post processing had no place in photography and has no value today, not just that there own work lacked it but that well respected art producted with film did as well.

It ties in to me with a misplaced level of confidence many people who used film at a basic level seem to have. Yes I respect the photographer who honed his craft well with film and darkroom work, no I don't respect the guy who dropped off snapshots at the chemist for years and now views this as a sign of their superiority to those who grew up with digital, many of whome who via an open minded dedication to their work have likely advanced well beyond them artistically.

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