Thoughts on Digital Photography

A photographer once told me, “not everyone who owns a piano is a pianist”.

With the rise of digital photography the number of horrendous pictures of pets and food on social networking sites has increased exponentially. The excitement and anxiety of opening the 24 pack of developed pictures from the Kodak store has been replaced by instantaneously accepting or rejecting the shot by analyzing each picture on the cell phone or camera’s LCD screen. There is literally no time involved in taking a picture; the world’s fastest camera can capture up to one trillion frames per second.

I am not an expert on photography, nor do I consider myself a photographer, but in high school I learned to appreciate the time and work that goes into creating a memorable image. I took two semesters of a manual photography class. With only 24 exposures and having the skill to apply a filter or add an effect to impress a college professor is not comparable to a camera with  unlimited images and applications with pre-set filters.

Digital photography has positively changed the media landscape by allowing anyone to send a photograph anywhere via an internet connection. However, I mourn the loss of the physical object, the connection created when an image slowly forms on a blank page in a chemical bath or while being fanned in midair. A connection so severed, Polaroid famously stopped production of its instant film camera in 2008 after sales of chemical film bottomed out (which spawned The Impossible Project).

The art of photography has been drowned in the mediocracy of accessibility. When developing a photograph was a passion or an occupation, only serious photographers spent the time and money to produce an image. Now, in its simplest form, all is needed is a cell phone, which does not make one a photographer (nor does the use of Photoshop).

 Ansel Adams’ Darkroom  ///  Digital Darkroom

..and here is a short video on a tintype photographer in San Francisco – talk about a hard copy…


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