I love the Analog process of taking and making pictures. It is such a tactile event, the process and ritual one goes through executing the capture of a latent image at which point one still must wait (that’s part of the ritual as well) until the film or other medium can be processed (the 2nd part of the ritual). Once the film has been processed you can then advance to the last part of the ritual which can take one of several directions and it is at this point where the photographer makes decisions based on his/her craft and experience. One can go with Digital at this point and forgo any further mechanical means of processing such as printing and developing a gelatin silver print or other alternative printing method (although it sometimes can be an intermediary step to producing another negative for alternative printing methods). My favorite step at this point is to digitize the positive or negative and do any other manipulations (the same processes one can do in a Wet darkroom only easier and quicker) of the photograph. This is the Blur Point I am referring to. I firmly believe that if the Digital technology had been available to many of the masters of film photography we all look up to and regard as wizards of their craft would have accepted the Digital Darkroom and its ease of creativity it affords us with open arms.
I have been experimenting with paper negatives of late and am enjoying it immensely, (enter the Blur Point) as you can see in the photo above “Willow No.6099” it is a complete digital creation, from capture on a digital camera to the processing in software to finished photo . . . completely digital. Yet, I could have just as well produced it using the analog methods and produced it on gelatin silver paper and the scanned it in to present it digitally, ergo we have come full circle once again to the present. Regardless the process in today’s digital world the creation ends up digitized unless it is printed (original process using a wet darkroom and Silver Gelatin Paper) for display (both digital negatives and digital prints are becoming the norm and are also very acceptable). The Blur Point . . . it is not the process that makes the photo, technique adds to the photo, and in the end it all boils down to one simple fact (for me anyway), I create what I felt and hope it translates to the viewer my feelings about the subject. I am speaking of creative photography and not documentary photography but even in that genre you had photo-journalists that found it ok to be selective, stage or otherwise manipulate (creative spirit) the photo to get a point across to the end viewer (example Eugene Smith).
So why even shoot with film, Wet plate, paper negatives . . . why print and process in a wet darkroom. That is the question, The answer is simple, for pleasure. And yes, it will eventually end up digitized, but that is not the point. Like any artist, they may use oil paints, or water color, or pencil or chalk . . . or a spray can . . . they are all just tools, but they become part of the picture the technique the please of creation.
In answer to the earlier question about Analog or Digital and what I prefer. The answer is both, I find pleasure in the Analog process and I find ease of display in the Digital process . . . and yes They Blur together in some form or another in one homogeneous mix.
** I do not spend loads of time processing or manipulating pictures, I have become quick with it and rarely spend more then 5 – 10 minutes if that much on a single photo, often less, it takes longer to size and put my name on the then process them. I don’t like sitting for long periods, I’d rather be out shooting photos. I have a few photos hung about my house and not much is in physical print. I am working on a few printed table top Portfolios for my own benefit and perhaps I will even make a few available one day, that is a very time consuming act.
So in conclusion, I find that what I create doesn’t change depending on the medium of choice for its capture, or processing. It is what I enjoy, sometimes it takes an Analog route, sometimes a Digital route. As long as I enjoy it, that is what counts. It has all come together and doesn’t matter, it has reached the Blur Point.
Get off your butt and go make a photo . . . .