>Film vs. Digital

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Summer Storm on the Current River, 
©1980, 2008 Jeane Vogel Photography, Cibachrome print

I got a shipment of Polaroid sepia film yesterday. It’s rare and when I found it, I jumped at the chance to use it again. I have no idea what I will do with it or where it will take me. It will wait until it knows what it wants to be.

I also found some 120 medium format Infrared film. That’s even rarer. Grabbed that too. I absolutely know what I’m going to do with that. 
I’m a little sick of the arguing, but is there really a difference between film and digital? Most people can’t tell the difference in the final product unless the photographer over-saturates the colors or over-sharpens the image. Why do they do that? It’s awful!
But a talented photographer, one who has mastered both film and digital, and works everyday to master it just a little more — the images from that artist don’t show the materials or the equipment. You just see the art.
“Purists” claim they can see the difference. Sometimes, just for fun, I challenge them. They can’t tell the difference, not if the image is processed properly. It’s arrogance and a sense of nostalgia that drives their purism,  I think. These are the “my camera can beat up your camera” folks who think that best camera and the best lens and the best technique and the best Photoshop plug-in will create their perfect image. Or they tell me that film is just superior and nothing will replace it. Are they trying to hang on to the “good old days?” Do they think that their brand of photography is best? Don’t they realize that film was dismissed as “not pure photography” when it replaced coated glass plates?
We say it all the time. It’s not the equipment. It’s the vision. I’ll say this out loud too: I am very tired of self-proclaimed purists’ superior attitude about film. You can drag around a 100-pound view camera and process your own film, but you can still take bad pictures. 
So if film and digital are the same, why not just dump film? It’s expensive. It’s time consuming. It’s not very “green.”
Ah, but it’s not the same. The results might look the same under a practiced hand, but part of the creation is the creating.
I want to use everything. Sometimes I use film. Sometimes I use digital. Sometimes I use Polaroid. Sometimes I shoot in black & white and hand-color it. Sometimes I shoot in color and convert to BW. 
The point is, it’s all good. Can we stop arguing about it now?
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About jeanevogelart

Art saves lives. That's my mantra and my motivation. My primary purpose as an artist is to inspire, entertain, make you smile, make you mad, make you think or recall a memory. I strive for work that is intimate and genuine, and sometimes whimsical. It's always more than a "pretty picture." I demand a relationship.
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2 Responses to >Film vs. Digital

  1. Anonymous says:

    >Amen to this. I used to work in the ad business doing work for top agencies, this was all before the true advent of digital photography and computers for that matter and I really must say that I don’t see the difference. I recently had this “discussion” with a good friend who is an art teacher and, I think, is still part of the old school (digital photographer is a lesser form). My position is its just “different” not better, not worse. Generally,I just find it’s not worth arguing about.

  2. Rana says:

    >I completely agree. I largely work in digital because it’s cheaper and easier to translate to an online venue, but there’s something special about film, and the relationship it fosters between photographer, camera, and subject. Each picture tends to “count” more, since it is harder to obtain initially.I’m exploring this distinction now with an art blog that involves taking daily pictures of the same thing with both digital and film cameras. One of the things that is interesting about the experiment is the way that having to take the qualities of film and manual camera into account alters the way I use the digital camera. The photographs I take for this project end up with a much different feel than the ones I usually take.(If you feel like comparing, my usual work is here: rdshaw.redbubble.com, and the blog is here: palimpsest.typepad.com/a_year_with_two_cameras/ )I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on the matter.

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