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Thread: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

  1. #1

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    Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    Inevitably when I teach workshops the topic comes up, film – digital – honest – not honest, and I think it about like this: the fellow who designed the crescent wrench probably never intended that it would be used as a murder weapon, but I’m pretty sure it has been.

    What I mean by this is the technology surrounding digital captures is not inherently bad (in much the same was as the crescent wrench isn’t inherently bad), but rather the integrity of the user might be.

    Film photographers know that sheets can be sandwiched together in the darkroom to put a moon where a moon wasn’t, and even film can be double exposed. The concepts surrounding this type of deception have been around for a very long time.

    If however an ‘artist’ says their manipulation was done for ‘artistic’ purposes and is very clear, even blunt about it, then I say OK – because they’re not lying about what they’ve done. However the ‘artist’ that says ‘the moon was there!’ knowing it wasn’t – is simply a liar.

    Unfortunately there is no real way, although sometimes there is because a moon could never be ‘there’, to prove the veracity of their statement(s). And we are left with the ‘artists’ ‘word’ to believe them or not.

    So with that in mind, here’s my question……

    Why does there seem to be such a caustic attitude between the film and digital worlds?

    A camera, after all, is simply a box that lets in light. Does it really matter what’s on the back to effect the result? For me it’s like two painters arguing over what’s better, horse hair or plastic based brushes. The painters both complete their respective paintings, do they not? Or are we such petty creatures quickly willing to demonstrate an ‘I know it all’ attitude while ‘the rest of you don’t know and could never know or understand’ attitude?

    Personally I’m in-between both camps, while shooting 8x10 film which is then scanned before printing the final image.

    My belief is pretty simple, I want to get back to what I saw, how I get there I could pretty much care less – other than wanting it to be the best that it can be.

    I would love to hear opinions here.

  2. #2

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    Re: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    I have no hostility towards digital; I use film and scan it, and will probably also use my wife's new 5D Mark II occasionally.

  3. #3

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    Re: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    Quote Originally Posted by rodney@theloughroad.com View Post
    My belief is pretty simple, I want to get back to what I saw, how I get there I could pretty much care less – other than wanting it to be the best that it can be.
    Exactly.

    Unless we're talking about forensic or documentary photography, a great image is a great image, why would anybody care how the artist got there?

    And it should matter even less for lousy ones.

  4. #4
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    Re: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    I, too, capture my images on film, scan it into the digital realm, and print it digitally.

    I use B&W 120 roll film, and 4X5, 5X7, and 8X10 sheet film. All of which I develop myself.

    However, for color work, I use a digital DSLR. My 35mm camera equipment has been packed away.

    I refer to film capture as photography and digital capture as pixelography.

    There are tasks that are best accomplished with a film camera and tasks that are best accomplished with a digital camera.

    There are tasks for a Crescent wrench and tasks for a pipe wrench.

    Digital is just another tool.

    Last week I asked a commercial photographer why he only uses digital cameras. He answered, "have to make a living".

  5. #5

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    Re: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    On the second thought, "D" most likely stands for "Dominant"...

  6. #6
    3d Visual Effects artist
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    Re: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    I'm probably one of the exceptions here, I did most of my photography learning with digital cameras, and have just now in the past 3-4 years started using film :-)

    Personally, I like both of them, and I choose to use one over the other based on how I want to shoot that event/scene/person/whatever. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, though digital is still pretty much just getting out of infancy if you ask me, and will most likely get better and better over time, and hopefully cheaper
    Daniel Buck - 3d VFX artist
    3d work: DanielBuck.net
    photography: 404Photography.net - BuckshotsBlog.com

  7. #7
    unexposed darr's Avatar
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    Re: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel_Buck View Post
    digital is still pretty much just getting out of infancy if you ask me, and will most likely get better and better over time, and hopefully cheaper
    I hope so. I shoot 6x7, 6x17 and 4x5" film, but I do look forward to the day when digital can equal my black and white film results. I have shot film for a long time and absolutely disliked 35mm until the 35 digi came out. Now I actually shoot a small format camera that I enjoy.

  8. #8
    runs a monkey grinder Steve M Hostetter's Avatar
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    Re: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    I think traditional is a more hands on type, hand made if you will... I think with the best work you can see it... To me there is a difference

    kind of like a fine hand made Italian boot like say,, Scarpa for example


    "To me" digital is to machine driven and way to fast pace,,,which, for many of us is the reason we use the LF equipment in the traditional form...

    plus,, none of us can afford digital backs and besides that I haven't seen one Petzval digital image

    then there's that chance I don't know what I'm talkin about


    Steve

  9. #9
    Leonard Peterson's Avatar
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    Re: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    I hope so. I shoot 6x7, 6x17 and 4x5" film, but I do look forward to the day when digital can equal my black and white film results. I have shot film for a long time and absolutely disliked 35mm until the 35 digi came out. Now I actually shoot a small format camera that I enjoy.
    That day has arrived. I've proven it with a lot of you and you didn't even know it.

  10. #10
    Sheldon N's Avatar
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    Re: Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

    Why does there seem to be such a caustic attitude between the film and digital worlds?
    No offense, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that people start threads in message boards with titles like Does the “D” in digital – Stand for Dirty?

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