Analogue and Digital

Firstly, I am by no means a professional photographer; in fact I have quite limited amount of experience compared to most people in the field. However I do have a huge (and I hate to say the word) passion (sorry) for photography and in some ways I think that matters more. You can oppose that opinion after you read the waffle I am about to spew.

I of course see the benefits of digital photography, only a fool would write it off as a medium and to stick only to analogue processes. Having a memory card smaller than a 35mm roll of film that can take hundreds of photos is clearly one of the most compelling arguments for digital. Not only that but the quality is fantastic and editing the photos is clean, simple and extremely enjoyable as well as artistically liberating with such programs as Photoshop or Lightroom.

However I still love analogue and I think it is extremely important that it is supported, especially by large photography suppliers. Seeing shops like Boots only having about 20 rolls of film on one dusty  shelf in some forgotten corner is really disappointing, but thank John Herschel they still offer developing services... even if they are a bit rubbish at it. All I can recommend is that you support companies like ‘The Impossible Project’ (http://the-impossible-project.com/) who recently look over after the cessation of Polaroid’s instant film production.

I must admit that I haven’t spent time in a darkroom since I was at college (several years ago now) and I really do miss it, being so involved in the creation of each photo is such a joy and although with digital you are still involved (more so if you take into consideration post processing) actually using your hands to do what your digital camera would be doing in milliseconds is an irreplaceable experience that all photographers should go through, and it is a set of skills that should be preserved.

The main reason I don’t want to see analogue photography lose any more ground is that almost every photograph taken with film; be it 35mm, 120, instant or whatever it just seems to have more meaning. Perhaps it is the fact that with an analogue photo you have something tangible. Something you can touch, a memory of a moment that you can physically hold onto. But it is more than that; a print of a digital photo should draw out the same emotions and connections as a negative or Polaroid, but to me it doesn’t and I am sure others feel the same.

For some reason dust, dirt, scratches, grain, light leaks, odd focus and unintended exposure all add to the character of an analogue photo. However if these traits were applied to a digital photo it wouldn’t have the same effect, and in most cases you would do your best to remove these ‘flaws’ in your post process.

Digital has its place, in my opinion it is brilliant and it is only getting better, convenience and quality are why it has taken over. Whether you are shooting a magazine editorial or a wedding, getting perfect images can only be a good thing. I am not saying perfection can’t be achieved with analogue, quite the opposite in fact, the character and emotion that comes with it can’t properly be replaced by new technologies.

The digital camera is probably shooting the analogue one with a flash gun... get it? Har har har.

As a side note I am also all for word processors but I still use a typewriter on occasion and I never go anywhere without my fountain pen. I use digital because it is fantastic but as long as I can use analogue as well I will.