there is something missing with digital photography and I know what it is..

Started May 10, 2012 | Discussions
TRIODEROB
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there is something missing with digital photography and I know what it is..
May 10, 2012

spent about 2 hours at the san diego "Museum of Photographic Arts"

it dawned on me what is wrong with digital photography

its too clean and perfect

looking at the images that were made with silver film and wet lab- had a depth and impact. no need to pixel peep. no need to judge on a technical level. all that matters is that the image speaks to you. there is a " visceral impact."

there is also a dynamic range on the color negative film that seems better to me.

here is an example . I had a man tke this photo of my kid with a civil war view camera and wet lab. scanned it and it has lost some impact but i think you can see my point

brianj
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Re: there is something missing with digital photography and I know what it is..
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

Yes I agree, it's been observed here before.

Today almost all character has been lost from images, in fact the more people waste their money buying new equipment to produce so called higher IQ the greater the problem becomes.

Have a look at this link: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1012&message=40174341

Brian

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Mako2011
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A new art?
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

I understand. I also think mastering Photoshop to give the same look is something wonderful to see. Faux sure, but still, I love the impression it gives and marvel at the skill it takes to do it well.

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robert1955
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I guess this explains your preference in cameras :)
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

BTW: it is the same with young people from a rich country: too clean, too beautiful.

And have you already discoveredInstagram?

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quadrox
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No, nothing is wrong.
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

Nothing is wrong with digital photogrpahy. If you don't like it, don't use it, it is what it is. Better resolution and more faithfull reproduction always beats lower resolution and less faithfull reproduction. You can always subtract IQ in post processing, but not vice versa. And I believe that even in the old days most would have preferred to have better IQ, not worse.

In summary, your post doesn't make much sense. But again, if you are unhappy with digital photography, go and shoot film, but leave us digital photographers out of it.

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TRIODEROB
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Re: No, nothing is wrong.
In reply to quadrox, May 10, 2012

my post makes perfect sense.

some of the images in the show were BETTER not worse because they are grainy, hazy, imperfect.

grreat photography does NOT need "faithfull reproduction " - thats a falsehood.

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Mako2011
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that too
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

TRIODEROB wrote:

grreat photography does NOT need "faithfull reproduction " - thats a falsehood.

Nor does it need to be shot with film and look " grainy, hazy, and imperfect " - that too is a falsehood

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Ron Poelman
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B&W is cheating.
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

All the adjectives in the world won't change that.
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tex
tex
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Blaming the medium doesn't "solve" your "problem"
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

What you have said is akin to saying "there's something wrong with lithography---it doesn't look like etching" or some similar nonsense, fresco/oil painting, or wood/marble sculpture, and on and on.

I'm not attempting to insult you, but the problem resides within you, and I believe the nature of that problem has to do with insufficient contact with the visual arts in all their various and very different media.

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Deleted1929
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Re: there is something missing with digital photography and I know what it is..
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

there is also a dynamic range on the color negative film that seems better to me.

Modern large sensor cameras have plenty of DR. What tend to happen is that people don't process it well to a final image. My old Fuji S3 has about 13 EV of DR and I've no idea how I'd get more from film. A D5100 can get 14 EV. Anything that needs more won't be better in film.

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StephenG

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Thesorus
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Re: there is something missing with digital photography and I know what it is..
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

I assume the original picture taken using the best available technology at the time (BW film/plate).

The same photographer today would probably have used on of the top camera available.

So, no issue at all.

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Simon Zeev
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Nothing is missing with digital photography!!
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

The fact that there are wonderful pictures taken with film is only due to a good photographer. The imperfections of film doesn't add to the impact of the picture.

I am 65 now and I am an amateur photographer from 13-15 years old. From time to time I like to shoot film and develop and scan it. Is only to play with an old camera.

I scanned a lot of my old pictures and every time I look at them I think how better are my pictures now technically.

The only thing that goes with your theory is that when one have only 12 or 25 pictures per film he have to think a lot before taking a picture. Now we take a lot of pictures of a subject seldom without thinking too much, hopping that the best one is between them and we will discover this one on the computer.
For me, digital is far better.

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Draek
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Re: there is something missing with digital photography and I know what it is..
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

So, take them with your phone and run them through Instagram. Voila! imperfections galore

Honestly, while the argument that a strong photograph can be diminished by poor technical aspects is debatable (personally I think it's hogwash), I think there's simply no value to the argument that a strong photograph could be diminished by being too perfect, it makes no sense whatsoever. If you choose to focus on the technical qualities of the image instead of seeing the photograph as it is, it's your own fault rather than that of the photographer's camera.
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JulesJ
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Re: there is something missing with digital photography and I know what it is..
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

You are not wrong!

Silver halide rules and always will. If you can't see it, you don't deserve it. Most DSLR users today have little experience of fibre Silver halide b&w prints and therefore have nothing to judge a digital print against. We sold large fibre prints for fifteen years, shot on medium format and professionally printed on Agfa paper. Nothing digital can touch them although digital printing is very good nowadays. Pixels are not grain, and never will be. Analogue is life, digital is machine.
Jules

TRIODEROB wrote:

spent about 2 hours at the san diego "Museum of Photographic Arts"

it dawned on me what is wrong with digital photography

its too clean and perfect

looking at the images that were made with silver film and wet lab- had a depth and impact. no need to pixel peep. no need to judge on a technical level. all that matters is that the image speaks to you. there is a " visceral impact."

there is also a dynamic range on the color negative film that seems better to me.

here is an example . I had a man tke this photo of my kid with a civil war view camera and wet lab. scanned it and it has lost some impact but i think you can see my point

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Barrie Davis
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No accounting for taste...
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

TRIODEROB wrote:

here is an example . I had a man tke this photo of my kid with a civil war view camera and wet lab. scanned it and it has lost some impact but i think you can see my point.

Hmmm... I think you are mistaking "bad" for "good." But hey, if that's how (bad) you like your shots, then who is to argue with that?

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Baz

"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

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rsn48
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I've gone in the other direction....
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

When I look at older photos and I'm talking photos in "how to" photography books, old photo mags, and other sources, what strikes me is how bad they are compared to what I am use to seeing now.

I look at photos and think poor editing, to soft and image, colours are off, a colour cast to the photo, and the image is just "flat" somehow. To me, the over all quality of a good photo has been raised.

Below I will show two photos at the beginning of the book illustrated, these two photos are at the beginning of the book and the implication is that someday we will be able to take something this good:

Photo #1:

Photo #2:

Some have suggested that printing affected these photos (in the book); to my mind everything is bad about these photos, too soft, colour is off, poor composition, etc.

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Faintandfuzzy
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Re: No, nothing is wrong.
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 10, 2012

TRIODEROB wrote:

my post makes perfect sense.

some of the images in the show were BETTER not worse because they are grainy, hazy, imperfect.

grreat photography does NOT need "faithfull reproduction " - thats a falsehood.

True...there is this rush to perfection that is leaving a lot of modern day work sterile and lifeless looking.

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TRIODEROB
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Re: No, nothing is wrong.
In reply to Faintandfuzzy, May 10, 2012

to me this is what most digital photos look like

(not "all" - I understand)

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ZorSy
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Nothing is missing in digital photography
In reply to TRIODEROB, May 11, 2012

Film has no "soul", contrary to what some would state. It was technology used at one point in time of human history, used to record events that occurred at specific moment in time - nothing more. The significance of capture was partly photographer's ability, partly ability of the machine to perform - the other, much bigger part was the event itself.

Sadly, today it looks most posters here live in "boring" times and those who could possibly get some "great shots" have hard existential issues, putting photography at far bottom of the "to do" list. Based on recent documentary I saw on TV, I would only assume some living in Detroit area would agree. But despite, some very good photography comes from the same place, documenting decay at once prosperous place on the Earth. But NOW, those photos bear no weight - in 20, 50 or 100 years, when nothing remains, somebody will pull them on daylight and nostalgically exclaim "holography has no soul" (or whatever technology gets used in those days, I'm not A.Clark to see and name it now).

Another thing I noticed is the fact we THINK there is a lot of photography going around, considering the sheer number of "image capable devices". But when it comes to some "spectacular" event (unfortunately almost always involving the loss of lives), there are barely any photographs or they are captured with the most obscure devices at the lowest possible resolution and quality. That tells the lot - babble about photography is one thing, the living photography is another. Everybody wants to create "art", street photography has become random snapping mostly looking for artistic value in it. Everything else is commercial photography, almost predictable, based upon study of what's been done so it does not repeat. Journalism is well planned machinery, setting up cameras at the agreed and expected places, paparazzi are chasing starlets of the moment (otherwise insignificant to anyone but themselves) - photos living one day on teh front page of tabloids nobody would even try to remember, including publishers.

In such light, the medium is moving very slowly and many think returning to "old values", involving old technology too, would revive the "soul". (In a commercial attempt to do so, read the latest news about M-m). As said at the begging, there was never such a thing determined by technology only.

Perhaps we today perceive "old times" as times with the soul , not valuing our times. Many would like to think that portraits done on the glass plates were "better" than those done on the gelatine (and those are again better than digital, logically). Are they really "better"?

For me and my photography "soul" exists in what I photograph, which is my family and friends (love to cherish, friends to treasure). I had done it with film, I'm doing it with digital - there is no difference, apart from the fact some faces had become more "Draganized" without much PP effort. And yes, I am nostalgic too, seeing those faces captured some 35 years on film - for some, mostly gone some time ago, I wish I could go back in time with this "digital thing" and take few more photos (instead of a couple taken back then). The content would be the same, just a different technology.

But I do print my photos and keep them in albums - how obsolete (do you?). Because, photographs "live" there and enrich my soul.

cheers

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Andreas Stuebs
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Not the right direction.
In reply to Mako2011, May 11, 2012

Don't get me wrong, I like your pictures. But I thinkk one of the difficulties in comparing the film photography with the digital photography is that they are different media. The light capture is different, the process is different and the economics is different.

I feel that there is no real digital aesthetics yet ant it will not develop if one tries to emulate the film look.

But - photography took some time to develop as an independent art form - to emancipate itself from painting and drawing. So give digital some time it will get there. (perhaps us old 'uns will not get there, as we have too much developer still in our blood - it will need a generation which grew up with digital)

Andreas

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