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Michael Lloyd
11-Oct-2015, 14:23
At what point does a photograph cease to be analog?

For instance, if I use ink (Piezography to be specific) to make an 8x10 negative derived from my digital file and then create a platinum print from that negative, using a wet process, is the result analog? I say- yes it is, maybe. But, if I thought that was the only answer then there would be no sense in asking the question.

ic-racer
11-Oct-2015, 14:53
All photographs are analog. Digital files are not visible and produce no image, they are abstractions. You can't see "1" or "0" if they are represented by voltages. You can see "1" and "0" on a CD but it produces no image, just a rainbow diffraction pattern.

Vaughn
11-Oct-2015, 14:55
I would consider that a hybrid process...a major digital component and a major wet-process component worked together to create a print.

The digital component could have an analog component if film was used as the original source material...and could even have a LF component. I think that if anywhere in the process the image information is stored and/or manipulated digitally, then it will have a digital component.

Edited to add: By the same reasoning, I guess I would have to consider an inkjet print created from a file made from a scanned film negative or transparency to be a hybrid workflow, also.

Michael Lloyd
11-Oct-2015, 15:23
The process is hybrid but the end result is a photograph that is made on sensitized paper by exposing it to UV light through a negative and developed in a (expensive in the case of Platinum Palladium) chemical bath, which is analog (as ic-racer noted)

"You can see "1" and "0" on a CD but it produces no image, just a rainbow diffraction pattern." The diffraction pattern doesn't occur because of "1"'s or "0"'s. The 1's and 0's are just calibrated scratches. Vinyl records have diffraction patterns too but not as obvious as CD's do. But I get what you're saying and I agree.

Basically I see the answer the same way that ic-racer sees it. A photograph is analog

But that means that an inkjet print is also analog. The variability in papers, inks, nozzles, and even the minute changes in the way the printer moves the head as it ages makes the process analog :)

AuditorOne
11-Oct-2015, 15:24
What the camera lens sees and projects onto film or sensor is analogue.

If recorded on film it can remain that way all the way through the process to a print, or it can be scanned into a digital form. It either stays as digital if only projected onto a digital display screen or it becomes analogue again when printed as a color or black and white print.

If recorded on a sensor the signal is converted to digital and it can stay that way all the way to a projection onto a digital display screen. Once printed it becomes analogue, whether that print is a negative which is taken further through the process, or ends there with a physical color or black and white print.

So, by definition, digital is always hybrid where film can be analogue all the way or can become hybrid at some point in the process.

The process from capture to display should only be important to the photographer. Defining it by method of capture or by the format of the negative/digital file is only an artificial attribution and really means nothing. What matters is the display for the use and enjoyment of others.

koraks
11-Oct-2015, 16:42
It doesn't matter. How does it look? How did you feel making the image? For me, that's what counts. The rest is inconsequential.

Jac@stafford.net
11-Oct-2015, 17:23
It doesn't matter. How does it look? How did you feel making the image? For me, that's what counts. The rest is inconsequential.

Of course, your response does not attempt to answer the question.

To me any CRD/LED or other electronic display at this date is digital, and diminished.

I wonder if those who use small cameras might feel remiss when monitors evolve so that, for example, today's Retina display is the very lowest denominator
.

Vaughn
11-Oct-2015, 17:31
I will assume that the common meaning of a photograph used so far in this discussion excludes images on a screen (projected or otherwise), and defines a photograph as a photographically derived image on paper or some other physical surface. With that definition, I will agree that a photograph is always analog, and in the OP example, the photograph was derived from a hybrid process.

I prefer not to separate the process from the object created by the process (the print) in my work, but do not require (but enjoy) knowing the process behind the works of others.

Old_Dick
11-Oct-2015, 17:49
When it is a bitmap.

Duolab123
11-Oct-2015, 18:12
Call it whatever you want. I've got a friend who went to George Eastman house to learn to make digital negs. Her salt prints are FABULOUS .. The only drawback is that the size of the original sensor (and the short focal length lens) of Digital capture. This gives away the fact that you are not using a 16 inch lens on a 11 x 14 inch camera. But if you can do the Photoshop Voodoo and make Platinum contact prints. I'm thinkin that is pretty Damn cool.

I have a Folmer and Schwing 11 x 14 folding camera only weighs about 20 lbs if you don't count the Majestic tripod and holders (about 3 lbs a piece). I'm gonna figure this out, even contact printing to fiber base paper from a digital file sounds good to me. Heck, I've got an old Elwood 8 x10 enlarger maybe I should put an inkjet negative in that??

Vaughn
11-Oct-2015, 19:25
Just judging from those attending my alt processes workshops, using an enlarged digital negative is more the norm these days. Tho always a pleasure to work with camera negatives! 11x4 carbon prints from in-camera negatives are pretty sweet!

Paul Metcalf
11-Oct-2015, 19:33
pretty straightfoward, d-to-a

Randy Moe
11-Oct-2015, 19:35
Pretty sure this is a trick question with a physics answer. Digital is always analog, as it's communicated/represented by physical states of on or off. That state may be an electrical charge and E=mc^2 applies. Charge has mass.

These days people are fond of saying data 'cloud' is invisible, weightless and only abstractly exists. Incorrect. Binary is marks, positions and/or electrical charge. All these are physical and thus analog.

Think about it and while thinking, consider your thoughts are also analogue.

Michael Lloyd
11-Oct-2015, 19:38
Call it whatever you want. I've got a friend who went to George Eastman house to learn to make digital negs. Her salt prints are FABULOUS .. The only drawback is that the size of the original sensor (and the short focal length lens) of Digital capture. This gives away the fact that you are not using a 16 inch lens on a 11 x 14 inch camera. But if you can do the Photoshop Voodoo and make Platinum contact prints. I'm thinkin that is pretty Damn cool.

I have a Folmer and Schwing 11 x 14 folding camera only weighs about 20 lbs if you don't count the Majestic tripod and holders (about 3 lbs a piece). I'm gonna figure this out, even contact printing to fiber base paper from a digital file sounds good to me. Heck, I've got an old Elwood 8 x10 enlarger maybe I should put an inkjet negative in that??

I was just got back from a Piezography workshop. During the last day we each created a platinum print from a digital neg that the instructor printed for us. For black and white prints we used Epson Artisan 1430 printers and Piezography ink sets. He used an Epson 4800 and a Piezography ink set specifically made for creating a digital negative. The negative process in photoshop was pretty simple.

The instructors "soup" for developing the print was a little different but this link will take you to an example of the process (not the digital neg, the print):

http://www.alternativephotography.com/wp/processes/platinum/platinum-and-palladium-developers-and-solutions

It ain't cheap :) but it's a lot of fun

Michael Lloyd
11-Oct-2015, 19:58
Pretty sure this is a trick question with a physics answer. Digital is always analog, as it;s communicated/represented by physical states of on or off. That state may be an electrical charge and E=mc^2 applies. Charge has mass.

These days people are fond of saying data 'cloud' is invisible, weightless and only abstractly exists. Incorrect. Binary is marks, positions and/or electrical charge. All these are physical and thus analog.

Think about it and while thinking, consider your thoughts are also analogue.

Analog is the representation of multiple binary states, typically but not always packed into a word.
Digital represents the state of one bit.

Binary/boolean/digital, same meaning

bit state of 0 or 1

Analog is a band of digital signals

nibble - 4 bits 0000, 0001, 0010, 0011, 0100, 0101, 0110, 0111, 1000, 1001, 1010, 1011, 1100, 1101, 1110, or 1111 (decimal 0 to decimal 15)
byte - 2 nibbles or 8 bits I'm not going to type all of that out (decimal 0 to decimal 255. 8 bit RGB channels are also 0 - 255 each)
word - 2 bytes or 16 bits and I'm sure not going to type all of that (decimal 0 to decimal 65535)
double - 32 bits signed or unsigned
float - 32 bits
double float - 64 bits
and so on

Michael Lloyd
11-Oct-2015, 20:06
Just judging from those attending my alt processes workshops, using an enlarged digital negative is more the norm these days. Tho always a pleasure to work with camera negatives! 11x4 carbon prints from in-camera negatives are pretty sweet!

I suppose it's possible to create a digital negative without Piezography inks but the tonal range from a "black and white" inkset (actually shades of gray) is smoother and I would think that would make for a better negative. In camera negatives aren't "fast". Neither are digital negs for that matter but I suspect that the "popularity" of digital negs is that when coupled with an alternative process to create a print is what winds the participants clock. Anyone can make a digital print (I know, gross overstatement) but a wet print, now that is something to be proud of. Either way, seeing the print materialize on paper that I prepared sure wound my clock.

I may one day have a wet darkroom but for now I have lurk between digital and analog. Actually... I process my 4x5 and 5x7 film so I should be able to make smaller contact prints from those negs. Making larger prints from them requires scanning which brings me back to a hybrid process.

Ken Lee
12-Oct-2015, 05:02
After we resolve "When is it not analog?" we can move on to "When is it not a photograph?" :cool:

As the old poet said

"Things are things because of mind
as mind is mind because of things."

Emmanuel BIGLER
12-Oct-2015, 05:35
if I use ink (Piezography to be specific) to make an 8x10 negative derived from my digital file and then create a platinum print from that negative, using a wet process, is the result analog?

Interesting question of proper terminology.

After ~ 1850, newspapers began to print photographs.

At the time, the question was not to be digital, or not no be, but how to reproduce a continuous range of gray scales with a printing process only able to print black ink on white paper.
The solution came from photogravure techniques, where shades of gray, Saint Ansel's zones if you prefer, were represented by a mesh of tiny dots of variable diameter printed on a white background.

Incidentally, printers continued to use early bitumen processes in the XIXst century, like the original process by Nicéphore Niepce that was eventually abandoned for regular photography and replaced by daguerréotypes and various silver halide analogue techniques.


There was some "digital" aspects in the process, namely the fact that the position of the dot centers was distributed on a fixed grid like any digital image sensor.
However dot size in analogue photogravure was continuously variable and perfectly analogue. But electron counts in a pixel is also a variable parameter, not really continuously, though, since the increment is one electron charge.

Hence what we call a "digital negative" of year 2015 is nothing but a modern version of a XIXst century newspaper photograph printed with tiny ink nozzles. Dithering is today obtained throught various schemes, suffice to say that inkjet nozzles are much smaller tiny newspaper printed dots.

Hence my opinion is that a digital negative is digital only because it has been digitally computed; the object when used for analogue printing is perfectly analogue.

pdh
12-Oct-2015, 05:45
These are matters of faith rather than physics.

Those who believe that a digital photograph is not "really" a photograph will be no more moved by a rational argument towards the falsity of their belief than if they were William Jennings Bryan ...

Wayne
12-Oct-2015, 06:17
Nor will those who believe a computer is "just another tool", like a screwdriver or shovel.



These are matters of faith rather than physics.

Those who believe that a digital photograph is not "really" a photograph will be no more moved by a rational argument towards the falsity of their belief than if they were William Jennings Bryan ...

pdh
12-Oct-2015, 06:42
Well, quite.

All those who don't believe that computers are secretly and without our knowledge or intention manipulating all those digital images for their own ends are in for a bit of a shock when skynet comes alive.

Poor beknighted fools.

They're all doomed, y'know

koraks
12-Oct-2015, 07:20
Of course, your response does not attempt to answer the question.
.
Of course it doesn't. The replies so far illustrate that:
(1) everyone is free to decide where they draw the line
(2) any photograph is a technical representation of real-world experience that is turned back into a real-world experience for viewing
(3) technique alone says very little about the aesthetic or artistic merit of an image

Which is a roundabout way of arguing that the analog/digital debate to me seems like beating the same dead horse a little more only to find that its innards don't have much to tell us anyway. YMMV of course.

DrTang
12-Oct-2015, 07:28
if its not hitting silver in the capture process..it's digital


(don't get picky..you know what I mean)

Drew Wiley
12-Oct-2015, 08:30
It's no longer analog whenever you resort to a GPS navigation device to get to the shooting location!

Bruce Barlow
12-Oct-2015, 08:41
At the risk of being my usual wet blanket, why would I care? Unless I want APUGgers to love me, and I ceased that quest long ago. I knew I'd never find the Grail, either.

I want to make images that move me. I don't really care how, and I don't really care if others are moved.

Grumpy old man, am I.

djdister
12-Oct-2015, 08:45
At what point does a photograph cease to be analog?

For instance, if I use ink (Piezography to be specific) to make an 8x10 negative derived from my digital file and then create a platinum print from that negative, using a wet process, is the result analog? I say- yes it is, maybe. But, if I thought that was the only answer then there would be no sense in asking the question.

Given the typical analog vs digital dialog that your question has dug up (yet again), what is the point of asking your question, and why is an answer necessary?

bigdog
12-Oct-2015, 09:13
... why would I care? ...

And while we're at it: exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? :rolleyes:

Drew Wiley
12-Oct-2015, 09:59
How many angels want to? You can't count them if they don't show up at the dance. I feel the same way about digital. I just don't want to. Reason enough.

A_Tabor
12-Oct-2015, 10:26
I do computer sciences and electrical engineering related things, but an apparent irony was pointed out to me by a chemist:

Using film as your sensitive medium is a purely digital process. Chemically a spot has either reacted, or has not reacted, there isn't really a state between the two options, and we rely on the density of reactions in a given area, driven by the amount of light that hit it, to have film actually work. There is no continuous scale, but merely discrete states which the 'signal' can be stored in. We just use an insanely huge amount of 'digital' points of information such that it appears effectively continuous.

"Digital" sensors however product a continuous signal from a sensor site itself. The amount of light striking them changes their electrical properties on an effectively infinite scale between the minimum and maximum measurable change, which is then sampled and stored in discrete steps based on what thresholds the signal has passed. The actual sensor in a digital camera produces a signal which is analog.


So, what impact does "Digital" or "Analog" really have on the end result when it comes time to hang something on the wall and enjoy it? I would argue it really has no impact at all unless you want to make some big deal over the involved processes. I like the idea of working with large format film for the same reason I like the idea of building my own home and growing my own food. I like working with my hands. (Which is a bit of an irony given the amount of work I've done with robotics and automation, but I really don't care.)

Wayne
12-Oct-2015, 10:56
How many trees are in a forest? The salient point isn't that one thing is digital and one thing is analog. These are just words. The point is that there are 2 distinct things (that sometimes hybridize producing less distinct things).



[QUOT

E=A_Tabor;1281332]I do computer sciences and electrical engineering related things, but an apparent irony was pointed out to me by a chemist:

Using film as your sensitive medium is a purely digital process. Chemically a spot has either reacted, or has not reacted, there isn't really a state between the two options, and we rely on the density of reactions in a given area, driven by the amount of light that hit it, to have film actually work. There is no continuous scale, but merely discrete states which the 'signal' can be stored in. We just use an insanely huge amount of 'digital' points of information such that it appears effectively continuous.

"Digital" sensors however product a continuous signal from a sensor site itself. The amount of light striking them changes their electrical properties on an effectively infinite scale between the minimum and maximum measurable change, which is then sampled and stored in discrete steps based on what thresholds the signal has passed. The actual sensor in a digital camera produces a signal which is analog.


So, what impact does "Digital" or "Analog" really have on the end result when it comes time to hang something on the wall and enjoy it? I would argue it really has no impact at all unless you want to make some big deal over the involved processes. I like the idea of working with large format film for the same reason I like the idea of building my own home and growing my own food. I like working with my hands. (Which is a bit of an irony given the amount of work I've done with robotics and automation, but I really don't care.)[/QUOTE]

Drew Wiley
12-Oct-2015, 11:20
The critical difference is that with film I use my index finger to push a button once - the shutter. With digital, I have to use the same miserable arthritic finger
on a mouse and keyboard innumerable times. So "analog" is actually far more efficient.

A_Tabor
12-Oct-2015, 12:09
How many trees are in a forest? The salient point isn't that one thing is digital and one thing is analog. These are just words. The point is that there are 2 distinct things (that sometimes hybridize producing less distinct things).


And my point is that they are all just tools to use when going from a physical 3D real world environment to a a static representation of that world. Use a tool suitable to your goals, and enjoy creating your art. I find it rather illogical to stand on a soap box and claim that my art is more art than your art, because my art somehow arts better than yours.

You can make reasonable claims in other fields, such as saying that a laminated structural beam is superior to one made from fibre board, because you can conduct empirical tests and demonstrate that a solid laminated beam is stronger, more durable, less prone to water or fire damage. However I have yet to see anyone provide a reasonable empirical test to prove that one art form was truly superior to another which is not at risk of devolving into a circle jerk of current popularity and cultural trends.

Do some methods current market better than others? Sure. But that data is hardly timeless or reliable. How long ago was it that colour film was an absolute joke in fine art circles? How long ago was it that anything digital was an absolute joke that "no serious artist" would be involved with?



In my views the "Digital vs Analog" is a rather useless discussion when it comes to driving style and technique if you aren't picking into the whys and whats while focusing on actual goals.
Why does a large format have the look it does?
What is it about the end results about a given method that you like or don't like?
How does the physical product from a given method actually hold up over decades?
Does doing it one way have a high risk of the end print being ruined in only a few years?
Ease and risk of use?
What are the overarching economic considerations?

"My workflow is all X" is about as useful in the grand scheme of things as "My workflow involves me always wearing mismatched socks" if you are not talking about issues which actually have some kind of a real world impact once you hang the thing on a wall.

Michael Lloyd
12-Oct-2015, 15:20
Given the typical analog vs digital dialog that your question has dug up (yet again), what is the point of asking your question, and why is an answer necessary?

I asked because I was curious about a specific process. The end result is a print that has no digital artifacts. The print cannot be duplicated. Each iteration of the print from the same negative is different. So the bastard child of the digital negative and the analog printing process looks like and is like it's analog parent.

It's not necessary to answer, all you have to do is choose not to answer. I got what I expected :)

Jac@stafford.net
12-Oct-2015, 15:34
It might be as informing to ask when photography IS NOT analog. At the very beginning of capture, is it not all analog?
.

Then we begin the long, slow slide into arguments here while some good people unknown to us because they never go on-line are making chemical-only images.
.

Bill_1856
12-Oct-2015, 15:35
"WHEN IS IT NOT ANALOG?"
It is NEVER analog. That is an obsolete word used to describe non-digital computers, referring to the analogy between physical systems whose actions can be described by the same (or similar) mathematics. It has nothing to do with photography. If you are referring to non-digital photography, the correct tern is "FILM" or "silver-based."

David Lobato
12-Oct-2015, 16:49
"WHEN IS IT NOT ANALOG?"
It is NEVER analog. That is an obsolete word used to describe non-digital computers, referring to the analogy between physical systems whose actions can be described by the same (or similar) mathematics. It has nothing to do with photography. If you are referring to non-digital photography, the correct tern is "FILM" or "silver-based."

I agree. Analog infers an electrical process. Analog computers could not operate without electricity. Film based photography is chemical in nature. In other words, the magic happens with silver and the chemical processes to make negatives and prints. Many of us LFers can make a photographic print with no use of electricity, purely using light energy and chemicals. How cool is that when you stop to think about it?

Michael Lloyd
12-Oct-2015, 17:18
"WHEN IS IT NOT ANALOG?"
It is NEVER analog. That is an obsolete word used to describe non-digital computers, referring to the analogy between physical systems whose actions can be described by the same (or similar) mathematics. It has nothing to do with photography. If you are referring to non-digital photography, the correct tern is "FILM" or "silver-based."

By definition, analog holds true for the discussion

an·a·log
ˈanlˌôɡ/
noun
1.
a person or thing seen as comparable to another.
"the idea that the fertilized egg contains a miniature analog of every adult structure"
adjective
1.
relating to or using signals or information represented by a continuously variable physical quantity such as spatial position or voltage.

Wayne
12-Oct-2015, 17:50
And my point is that they are all just tools to use when going from a physical 3D real world environment to a a static representation of that world. Use a tool suitable to your goals, and enjoy creating your art. I find it rather illogical to stand on a soap box and claim that my art is more art than your art, because my art somehow arts better than yours.

Which, I might note, nobody has done in this thread. And on that point we agree.

Duolab123
12-Oct-2015, 19:55
I do computer sciences and electrical engineering related things, but an apparent irony was pointed out to me by a chemist:

Using film as your sensitive medium is a purely digital process. Chemically a spot has either reacted, or has not reacted, there isn't really a state between the two options, and we rely on the density of reactions in a given area, driven by the amount of light that hit it, to have film actually work. There is no continuous scale, but merely discrete states which the 'signal' can be stored in. We just use an insanely huge amount of 'digital' points of information such that it appears effectively continuous.

"Digital" sensors however product a continuous signal from a sensor site itself. The amount of light striking them changes their electrical properties on an effectively infinite scale between the minimum and maximum measurable change, which is then sampled and stored in discrete steps based on what thresholds the signal has passed. The actual sensor in a digital camera produces a signal which is analog.


So, what impact does "Digital" or "Analog" really have on the end result when it comes time to hang something on the wall and enjoy it? I would argue it really has no impact at all unless you want to make some big deal over the involved processes. I like the idea of working with large format film for the same reason I like the idea of building my own home and growing my own food. I like working with my hands. (Which is a bit of an irony given the amount of work I've done with robotics and automation, but I really don't care.)

I've a degree in Chemistry (not the same as a working Chemist :-)) But I do think this is an excellent observation either a silver deposit is formed or it isn't, we are not talking the size but the existence. This an excellent point. I need to run off to develop some film now. I use my finger to press the shutter release, isn't that digital?:)

Peter De Smidt
12-Oct-2015, 20:58
Is light a particle or a wave? :)

Randy Moe
12-Oct-2015, 22:21
Is light a particle or a wave? :)

I watched a PBS series on the subject last night.

Seems we are stuck in the 11th dimension as observer.

However The 5th Dimension (http://thefifthdimension.org/index.html) remains my particular wave.

Michael Lloyd
13-Oct-2015, 05:31
Is light a particle or a wave? :)

140972


Technically speaking it "behaves as if both" :)