Friday, June 23, 2006

Photography as an artform

I've spent a bit of time on the internet today, looking through digital camera reviews so I that I can use it to get stillshots for when Ana gives birth to our first born baby in a few weeks. I must admit that I'm not particularly happy with todays digital cameras, partly because I'm a subjective person myself and partly because I'm an outright perfectionist.

To be honest, I'm more familiar with older cameras and the work that went into producing photographic prints. When I was growing up, my fondest memories was when I spent time mixing chemicals, processing films and developing prints in our laundry that I converted into a darkroom. After taking pictures, getting a good print took great skill; it required patience and hours of work - it was an artform, and to a large extent, it was a labor of love. Next was also the pride and respect of what you did. Photojournalist and black-and-white artist, such as Ansel Adams, had a unique eye for detail and the ability to capture life as an artform with what we would now consider the most primitive of equipment. That artform wasn't limited to taking pictures, it was what you did in the darkroom; it was the choosing of papers, the mixing of chemicals and the using of light to burn and give the exact exposure that you needed on print.

With todays mass produced digital cameras, the ability to produce instant pictures and the availability of software editing tools, taking pictures for me has lost all its artform and mystery.
But try telling that to the crowd, or to my wife for that matter.


Blogger John Tazumi said...


Appreciated your thought on the reluctancy to go digital. Although I have a digital SLR, I reach more often for my Rolleiflex or film rangefinder. I develop my film in the kitchen much to the chagrin of my wife and scan them digitally with my Epson 3200. So, in a sense I have the best of both mediums. I agree, digital capture still has eons to go before matching the tone and feel of TMax 100 or Provia.

Have you been able to utilize your love of photography in the Philippines. My company is sending me there for a 1-2 year assignment which would involve some photojournalistic kind of work. Be interested in your thoughts and experiences.

Much thanks!

John Tazumi
Vancouver, BC

6:49 AM  

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