why film photography?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Asia, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. Asia

    Asia TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone :D

    I have read this forum for a couple of weeks and trying to find an answer to my question:

    What makes film photography irreplaceable by digital one? Why so many people admit that digital photos are not that good?

    I hope that there are enthusiasts of photography who could share their opinion and convince me that traditional photo do have soul :)

    I would appreciate your help! :D I am writing a project on the film photography phenomenon and I would be glad to support it with your opinion.

    Thank you in advance
     
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What have you figured out so far ?


    I would not say "irreplaceable" ... eventually the capabilities/price of the Digital Sensor/Camera will equal or exceed Film.

    Film has greater exposure latitude.

    Some will say that Film has greater resolution.

    The capture source (Film vs. Sensor) is user changeable. If you need different properties you can easily change the Film type used ... especially for those that shoot Infrared.

    It is cheaper to get a Medium/Large format in Film. Medium/Large format Digital Sensors are extremely priced.

    Nostalgia. Many Film shooters that have converted to Digital still miss the feeling of working with Film and Film camera's.
     
  3. Asia

    Asia TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for response :)

    Till know I found out that opinions are divided. Film enthusiasts claim that digital cameras kill the art of photography. On the other hand, people whose job is connected with cameras admit that the digital cameras facilitate their work (e.g. taking a lot of photos and then working and retouching them).

    I am looking for information about particular scenes which you could capture only while using analog camera (or only with digital one).
     
  4. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hi there, I hope you have posted your counterpoint (Why just digital?) question in the Digital Forum, for balance. This is the type of question that can easily lead to flame wars, as some people feel quite passionately either way, and I cannot allow that. :) So please word your questions and responses carefully as you proceed.

    Having said that, to give you my reply, I am film-only user for anything that matters. I do own a digital point & shoot for quick snaps I plan to convert to jpeg and mail to family members or friends.

    My real work is in what is generally referred to alternative photographic techniques, and though Photoshop can be used to mimic just about anything, it is the reward of being hands-on, both in the darkroom and at my drafting table, that matters. I do bromoil printmaking, lith prints, toning and/or hand coloring on B&W silver gelatin prints, shoot infrared film and, until my cache in the fridge is gone, work with Polaroid film for emulsion lifts, image transfers, and manipulations.

    It all involves a direct, hands-on involvement which is personally fulfilling and very rewarding. And Photoshop is boring to me because a) I work at a computer all day and it's the last thing I would turn to for a creative outlet and b) it cuts out too many of my senses. I want to engage all 5 senses in the creative process for the most enrichment, and the darkroom, inking a bromoil print or hand coloring with photo oils, includes not only sight and sound but the keen sense of touch, smell and yes, even taste.

    In short, for me, working with film is irreplaceable. :D
     
  5. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I would not say irreplaceable either. Some people don't even know what film photography is :lol:

    Frankly, I think it depends on the part of the photo world you are talking about. In commercial, I don't see the point of shooting film. Of course, when I said that in another thread recently, someone talked of a magazine wanting film photos... But talking to some ex clients about the studio I'm opening this year, they all told me to go digital.

    It makes sense to me. Why want film that will have to get scanned since all the work done with that photo once it leaves your studio will be done in the digital world? It's been a while since I've kept up with the printing industry but, from what I understand, you go from the computer files straight to a printing plate. Maybe even straight to press?

    Are there very small publications out there that still use the old ways of working? Most probably. But I'm ready to bet that it is more a question of cost of the equipment than anything else.

    And I don't see how digital would kill the art of photography. The art of photography is in the image, not the format in which you shoot.

    Now, if you're talking about photography as an art form, that's another problem entirely. Photography had a hell of a time getting accepted by the collectors as a valid art form because, in part (mostly?), of the possibility of multiple prints. A concept they did not have to deal with with painting. This is reflected in the prices art photogs get for their work.

    A very few are getting even with painters but most are far, far behind. Just a couple months ago, I found some Jerry Uelsmann prints for $1200. A painter of his renown would get at least 10 times that.

    Another problem for collectors was the longevity of the photo print. How long before it fades?

    Both of those problems are making a come back with digital photography. At least according to the fine art photo galleries I have talked to.

    But that is the mercantile aspect of art photography. As far as the artist work is concerned (and of course I'm only talking for myself here) you lose the hands on approach with digital. The experience in front of a computer will never equal that of the darkroom and other analog PP work.

    When terri talks of smell I can't help and smile because that is what I miss most about the darkroom. And what about the magic of the image coming into existence onto the paper? Some artists push the hands on approach as far as making their own paper.

    My studio will be equipped with both digital and film gear including a darkroom. The digital for my commercial work and the film for my personal/art work. The film will also be useful when I develop the teaching side of the studio. Someone recently made me realize, maybe, part of the reason that a lot of photo schools still require the students to start with a film camera.

    This person was talking about how long it took him to master his DSLR and I thought, well, with a simple all manual film camera it takes about an hour, if that. After all, once the correct ISO is set, all one has to deal with is shutter speed and aperture... And then you can get right into the more important stuff like proper exposure, etc.

    If my wife was to read this, she'd joke about how this is one of my typical yes and no answer. :er:
     
  6. jbylake

    jbylake Dodging the Men in Black Supporting Member

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    For me, part of the "film" experience, is what makes it interesting to me.
    Caveat: I am going to buy a decent digital camera sometime this year, but it's purely for the "convienience" factor. I will use it for commercial use primarily, such as putting products on our website, quickly.

    As far as everything else goes, I'll just stick with film. Experimenting with films, all kinds of development techniques, etc, is for me, part of what I'm refering to as the "film" experience. Could be that I "grew up" with film, I don't know. But, if this makes sense, and it could just be a wierd part of my personal philosophy, but film is more of an "organic experience", and digital is more sterile".

    Just opinion, but I guess that's all you can get here, is "subjective" opinion.

    J.:mrgreen:
     
  7. Jerry Avenaim

    Jerry Avenaim TPF Noob!

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    I was asked in another thread to post a link to my recent article here. I hope I'm not breaking the rules. :meh:

    I just wrote an article on the subject of the title below. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated on the blog - Photography and the Art of Discipline.

    [​IMG]
    Halle Berry Copyright ¬©Jerry Avenaim Photography, Inc. 2009​

    Jerry Avenaim
    Web Site
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  8. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I shoot film for these reasons:

    1) digital cannot match the quality of medium and large format film.

    2) film grain is more pleasant to look at then digital noise.

    3) digital photograhers spend a lot of time in photoshop trying to match the "style" of color slide film, I just go straight to the source.

    4) film gear is retro, cool and cheap.
     
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  9. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I certainly hope I didn't get you in trouble :( but I can't imagine posting such a relevant entry would.

    To the mods, IT"S MY FAULT!
     
  10. jbylake

    jbylake Dodging the Men in Black Supporting Member

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    Absolutely relevant, and very interesting take on the subject.

    J.:mrgreen:
     
  11. Asia

    Asia TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for your responses!

    I understand that I have formulated the question in controversial way (maybe in order to interest you) ;) Sorry if I offenced someone.

    If it was a piece of advice, you would say that both film and digital photography are some kind of supplements - sometimes it is better to use film but sometimes using digital camera facilitates all the matters.


    By "art of photography" we could understand various issues - one is the art as the result (extraordinary picture) and one is the...let say effort which you put into taking photo. IMO taking photos using digital camera is simple and you can see the efect right away (passing over the minimal cost of it). While using analog camera requires some knowledge and experience (I'm not talking about the automatic (?) cameras but about the more advanced ones).

    I totally agree! It seems that digital pictures are not that well thought out cause there is always time to make them better and better.



    Once more - thank you all! I did not expect such extensive comments :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  12. J.Kendall

    J.Kendall TPF Noob!

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    learning with film will teach you a lot about composition, lighting, etc. Its sad because the college I'll be going to next year is going completely digital soon. Last summer I went on a visit there, asked to see the darkroom, and no one could get me there. Even the people who actually knew where it was said it was closing down anyway. Made me want to cry a little.:(
     

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