The Red Light District: Digital vs Analogue
A camera is but a tool. A means to an end.
The photographer is the artist, the voice and the creator.
And the photographer photographs. Whatever the tool – be it old or new, big or small, digital or film.
Or is it?
What of the romance? The je ne sais quoi? The character and humanity of the photographer? The journey the artist must go on?
No one questions the paint a painter uses. No one looks at a painting and asks why were oils used rather than acrylic? Why charcoal and not pencil?
And more fundamentally, the existence of one medium does not threaten the existence of another. Oils and water colours coexist, each with their champions and each with their advantages and uses.
Let’s get over this divide, this pitting one against the other. Lets accept that there is a place in this world for both digital and analogue photography.
Is it as simple as that? Perhaps.
Just as soon as manufacturers, retailers and commissioners stop threatening the analogue way of life.
If someone decided to stop manufacturing water colours, there would be a protest. If people stop making fountain pens because biros are cheaper and more convenient or because the market for fountain pens had shrunk so much, what would happen? So why do people expect analogue photographers will start using digital because companies may stop manufacturing film? Or think that film is an old quaint habit and that those of us left in the past will one day see sense.
Digital photography and technology is truly amazing. The convenience, the tools, the sheer technology is mind blowing. Think back 20 years and it staggers me, the arrival of the internet, mobile phones, email and yes, digital photography. There are many aspects I have embraced and will continue to embrace.
But I also choose to create my photographs using film and a darkroom.
I have chosen my path, my tools and I enjoy the journey I take to create my photographs, to achieve my results.
And I am not alone.
Leave us be, don’t threaten us with extinction. Supply us with our materials, appreciate the work we do, commission us occasionally and we may just stop evangelizing about film, the journey it takes us on and the beauty of our tools.