Digital vs Darkroom



“I am sure the next step will be the electronic image, and I hope I shall live to see it. I trust that the creative eye will continue to function, whatever technological innovations may develop.” – Ansel Adams

Recently I came across a post on Facebook, by a respectful Architectural photographer based in my hometown in UK, who was concerned about students joining educational institutes just to gain a Degree”.

To his response many replies were showing concerns about how students these days have no knowledge of the basic know-how of photography i.e. the analogue photography. To add to this conversation there were many showing their disapproval of digital photography and the ease of use the the new medium.

Myself as a mature student, have been in education for last 6 years did not agree with any of the comments posted by the so called concerned experts of analogue photography. I was also somewhat concerned about their own knowledge of the medium and lack of understanding of the digital media. I usually don’t get involved in this kind of debates with experts of analogue photography. But I wanted to point out the actual use of photography, what is used for? how it is used to create an image, does not matter.

In Short, both digital and Darkroom photography have some limitations and some advantages. How we utilise the medium to create an image to fulfil our original concept, is up to the artist.

Ansel Adams was a true artist, he worried less about the tools that he used to make his images, and more about how those images would affect people.

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” – Ansel Adams

“We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.” – Ansel Adams

Just by reading one legendary photographer’s biography you can learn a lot of about the art of image making, Ansel Adams, himself was an image maker. He use to visualise how he wants the image to turn out and he understood very well the limitations of photography. What I mean by saying this is he understood that what our eyes sees, camera cannot capture the true beauty of that very scene that our eyes have perceived.  So he use to shoot the image accordingly so he can manipulate it in his studio, in another words Analogue Photoshop.

So people who have problem with Photoshop or digital imagery, should go and learn something from real image makers, who didn’t care about what medium it is, rather they emphasised more on the impact you can create with your image making.

And now to the point of the original post, Yes many kids these days think it is the easy way of obtaining a piece of paper which claims that you have a DEGREE in so and so…. but if you choose to go for respected educational institutes, there are many with expertise in specialised subjects, you can learn a lot, if you are a serious candidate of course.

Education is not only about learning technical art, it also teaches you how to develop your concepts, again it only works for the serious candidates. NOT for the ones who join the educational institutes just to gain the FREEBIES, as most of the younger ones these days are lured into colleges and uni’s by this very attraction.

Some educational institutes have become more like a Business hub rather than teaching the technical side, That is something I agree with everyone showing this concern. But that is not all true, the educational institutes do teach, its up to the candidate to show the initiative and learn from the opportunities presented by the institutes they have chosen to join.

So choose wisely and you will be amazed, how much you can learn from the opportunities available to the serious students.

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