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.