Sunday, April 22, 2012

Photography's Journey From Film to Digital

In Doane's article “Indexicality and the Concept of Medium Specificity”, medium specificity was discussed in regards to photography and film. The article seemed to focus on how the medium has been changing over time as technology advances. For example, photography did not start off with using film. First, the calotype was invented, which "burned" the image onto a metal plate. As technology advanced, photography began to incorporate film. As technology advanced further, film was no longer specific to the photography medium. Film could also be used to capture moving images in cinema. As technology advanced even further still, digital media became popular and film was no longer necessary to capture photographic images or moving images. Captured images were no longer specific to film photography or moving-image cinema. As technology changes, certain aspects of certain mediums are no longer specific to that sole medium. Mediums can work together in the digital age.

 All throughout high school, I have been working with photography. I learned how to develop my own film in a darkroom, and I also learned how to enlarge my own prints in a darkroom. I am very fond of my knowledge of photography, and I am proud to say that I am am able to develop my own film and prints. It saddens me that the digital medium is becoming much more popular than the "old-fashioned" film medium. To me, it seems as though many digital images are fake. If a photo is not impressive when taken, it can be made impressive by editing it on the computer. To me, this seems like a form of cheating. When I take a photo with a 35mm camera and develop it myself in a darkroom, I am extremely proud when the image is beautiful because I did not need to edit it on a computer to make it beautiful. I feel as though the physical work of producing the image is quite rewarding when I develop my prints with my hands. Over the years, I have produced many gorgeous prints. During my senior year of high school, I managed to develop a set of 3 images from a fisheye camera. In my opinion, these were the best images I have created because they work together as a set to tell a story. I also find the contrast to be quite stunning because I did not edit the photos to have such a gorgeous contrast.

As stated in the article, technology is constantly changing and certain aspects of mediums are no longer specific to that sole medium. I developed these images myself in a darkroom, but as you can see, they are now on the internet. These images are no longer specific to print. Although I scanned these images in order to post them on the internet, I did not edit them in any way once I uploaded them. I feel as though it would have tainted the already beautiful images that I created with my hands. As stated in the article, "For within the digital realm, there is no difference between original and copy, and information outlasts its material support. As the technology changes, the information can simply be transferred, without loss, from one 'medium' to another." By scanning these images, I transferred my physical prints from the print medium to the digital. Now, I will be able to keep these photos much longer than if I simply kept the prints. Already, my prints are deteriorating because I did not leave them in the fixer as long as a should have, and so light is beginning to ruin the photos. These digital copies that I now have in my possession will outlast the prints, as the article states. I see no problem in transferring the print medium to the digital; however, I am worried that the "old-fashioned" film medium will be lost in the future. I hope that even though the digital medium is easier to access for most people, the film medium will still prevail for art's sake.

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