There have been significant changes in the way we approach and deal with photography, due to the arrival of the digital technology to our world that once was chemical created.
Digital photography or better say, the way of digitally capturing light into pixels has been widely popularized and it is here to stay. Past discussions about the advantages, disadvantages, doubts, talks about the future of digital photography, etc, have become obsolete for the evidence.
Nowadays, shooting a photograph in most varied situations, with a camera, a phone or other present or to come device, is the easiest thing to do for almost everybody.
Although this has popularized photography to a level never imagined, every shooter/user of photographs has not become an artist just for this fact. The fact of being so many people shooting photographs provably will bring us with more people loving that medium or at least will educate people visually on how they look at their surrounding world, improving themselves for taking better photographs.
Digital cameras have made a big jump in a short period of years. Somehow there are areas where digital photography is yet to be born. To the moment and to my knowledge (or my ignorance) there is no digital substitute in quality and versatility for a wooden 4×5 camera, fitted with a mechanical shutter lens with no one battery at all !!! One can get lost in a desert for a long time with that simple camera, a changing bag and a box plenty of film and to be light and productive at its full.
The actual substitute for this in “my particular desert”, would be a heavy camera being able to hold a heavy digital back, provably being smaller than the 4×5 area, with lots of bateries to make it work for some days and a computer or device to store the captures. It would be heavy to backpack it for sure. Not to mention the fortunes that this devices usually cost and the fast they become obsolete or even useless.
I am not a fighter of digital photography. Neither the opposite. I’m just a pragmatic guy that tries to see the facts as they seem to be. To me, what I thank most to digital photography is the control of luminances I can achieve on the computer, when I am building my particular visualization and the perfection of output in the printing.
I have always favored the Fineprint as the personal visualization of a subject by the artist. To me the fineprint is the most noble piece of art. So, getting the best possible print out of my darkroom or printers is the aim I pursue. Actual inkjet printers have reached a level of excellence and archival qualities that it is hard to think about improving them. They are capable of printing superb blacks with a DMax of 2.45 ! Laser chromogenic printers and Cibachromes could print at a maximum DMax of 2.30. It is reported that best selenium toned prints by Ansel Adams reached a DMax of 2.30 or less.
To my opinion the surfaces we could print on since recently, were of lower quality than the printers’ quality could output. I wished from long ago papers that had the look, feel and smell (yes, smell) as the darkroom barita papers, and these papers have finally arrived. These papers have sharper detail than RC based and their surface is alike the classic darkroom glossy air dried papers.
Getting a fineprint on a computer may be easier than getting it in a darkroom for the one who knows. This seems to bother some classic silver “guru” artists, whom think their business are in danger as it seems as everyone will be able to get quite good prints, out of their printers. I do not get scared on that. The most people doing good photographs, the more happy people and hope for a better world. So, do not get surprised to hear from these “gurus”, heaven from classic silver prints and hell from giclées (inkjet prints). On the other hand, I can say that the “artist” that do not know what to do with their negatives in a darkroom, surely won’t know what to do with his/her files on a computer.
My fineprints, are always signed by me along an authenticity certificate, which identifies them as genuine works done personally by me. I believe in signatures, it is just a little detail, but a detail that needs myself to be applied and that (me) for sure will be discontinued.
No matter by which means, I will not give up photographing the beauty in every subject I face to.