Arts and Entertainment

Don’t forget your analog roots

By Denebola
Published: November 2007
By Albert Yu
We live in a world where no teenager can be found without a digital camera to document every event and outing they attend. This, in turn, develops a need for an enormous picture capacity that can only be served by the modern digital camera. This capacity combines with the simplicity, portability, and ability to instantly upload pictures to a computer to make the digital camera a much more convenient option.
The abundance of digital cameras would probably cut off a typical student’s experience with film, which is usually limited to pictures taken with disposable cameras .One would probably have even less experience with black-and- white photography, limited to selecting the grayscale option on their digital camera or de-saturating one’s pictures in Photoshop when a student is in a particularly Bohemian mood.
If one did wish to pursue an interest in black-and-white photography, the options are severely limited. Most photo labs lack the chemistry to develop traditional black-and-white films, and digital cameras capable of producing similar results are ridiculously expensive.
The resources and guidance provided by South’s photography program, however, offer a discipline of photography otherwise highly inaccessible to a student that lacks the proper resources.
The course, as well as the inherent limitations of film, encourages the photographer to step back and think about their picture before taking it. Functions like aperture and shutter speed may be adjusted manually on a compact digital camera. But accessing such options is a daunting task, especially for one who doesn’t know what the aperture and the shutter speed do.
Traditional black-and-white photography forces one to take such factors into account. For any photographer, amateur or professional, a history in traditional photography will invariably result in superior work in the future.
As of 2003, digital has surpassed film in all aspects of quality (sharpness, acutance, color saturation), yet despite this, film still holds much appeal for fine art photographers. The grain and texture produced by different kinds of film and film developer are unable to be perfectly replicated, which add a quality to photos that causes many photographers to stick with analog photography.
In post-processing, darkroom prints can be manipulated in a fashion nigh – impossible to replicate with digital, making film a popular choice for contemporary fine art photographers.
In the midst of the digital age, most people would brush off film photography without a second thought. After all, what sort of advantages does it offer a typical consumer over digital?
Leading companies in the film industry have begun to discontinue products en masse, some even shutting down; but as long as photography programs such as South’s exist to teach students the values of traditional photography, perhaps film photography will live for generations to come.

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