Analog & Digital Photography - Mark Venner Photography

There seems to be a divide among many in photography, particularly serious landscape photographers, between those that believe solely in analog / film technology and those that have embraced the world of digital film technology. I tend to think that this divide is partly generational, as those that grew up on the Internet and knowing nothing but the silicon chip tend to think of digital as the only method, and those that grew up with film have a tendency to have a longing for the simplicity and solitude of analog film. But is also not as sharp of a divide as one would think.

Overall it seems there is a realization that digital is the future of photography for a number of reasons. First, film company’s stopping the production of certain large and medium format films comes to mind as a definite show stopper for analog film. Ease of use, both in transport of the picture taking equipment and the backend processing is another. Cost per exposure is dramatically less in the world of digital which is pretty handy. Overall processing cost is also less, while the photographers control over post-processing has increased (assuming in most cases an analog film photographer would send off negatives to be developed.)

All of these benefits, plus others that I have likely overlooked, have made digital the wave of the now. But all of these benefits bring to mind a quote from Spider Man's father, adapted from Voltaire of course, once told him; “With great power comes great responsibility.” The ability to create and push the limits of reality in the digital world has given each photographer a degree of power that simply was not available in the analog world. While yes, Ansel Adams was known as a wizard in the dark room, I think even he would be amazed at what can be rescued from a seemingly dead RAW image in today’s digital world.

For me, this responsibility means that each photographer must develop an ethic, similar to those of past photographers. This ethic must be transparent, understandable and authentic. Authentic not only to the subject matter, but also to who the photographer is as an artist. It must define the process the photographer uses, including the tools and methodology, to create his or her work.

For me this ethic is divided into a few sections. Photography tools. Post processing tools. Post processing technique.