Posts Tagged ‘technique’

Jun 27, 2009

Digital Cameras and The Art of Photography

Reflecting on the act of photographing a subject, I find that digital cameras are more efficient. A user can point-and-shoot, and if the camera has an lcd preview screen, the user can get what we call “instant gratification,” see the shot as it was taken.
I’ve shot with a 35mm SLR and I love the precision in it’s focusing and exposure, but I’ve always detested the film development process. It’s one thing if the picture was exposed properly during shoot, but it’s another when the developer can ruin a perfectly exposed film. With a digital, the user doesn’t have to worry as long as he isn’t a complete luddite (anti-techie) or just plain incompetent with technology.
Of course, there is a big difference between how film photography and digital photography look. Just through history, photo enthusiasts have been conditioned to love the grain of film photos. But with the advent of ultra high resolution digital photos, emerging photographers are demonstrating that detail, “more power” and technology can still produce beautiful images without taking away from the artistic aspects of photography.
Therefore, not just anyone can pick up a digital camera and expect quality results. I’m not claiming to be a master photographer, but I do have some training in traditional photography. I believe that the training helps me in composition, lighting, exposure, and technique. I don’t just point and shoot, even though that’s the main selling point of most digitals.
And now the technology has caught up with itself. There’s the Nikon D3X, a 24 megapixel digital SLR. I would love to get one, but it’s a whopping $7,000! A DSLR with this much resolution can simulate a very high quality grain 35mm negative. Therefore, any interested users has to think about the payoff: invest seven grand now and start reproducing high quality 35mm photos, or continue to use the old 35mm SLR and continue to pay for rolls of film and possible third party developing? The costs add up. My personal goal would be the DSLR, if you can afford it now, it will pay for itself.
Sure, as I’ve said before, the looks of each media differ dramatically, but because of the existing digital tools, even digital images can simulate the film look via a plugin. But then again, why not embrace the high quality aspect of digital photography? Although the creation of photography was by accident (most technology is), the art always comes into play when the artist tries to recreate reality. Digital photos are looking more like reality, or more accurately, hyper reality (the human eye cannot see the hair follicle texture coming out of your nose).
My personal opinion is to embrace digital, but not to forget it’s ancestors and the practice. Anyone can take a picture, but not anyone can take a great picture.