Which is better?
Disclaimer: This windy and naggy essay is just my opinion, I am not a pro. I know there are many other arguments to this topic, but this essay is just looking at the issue from ONE perspective. I might even be wrong in many areas like the terms being used and even the whole idea of it. So the essay might sound superficial, biased, and like a noob trying to act like a pro…so hope you guys read it with an open mind :D
Being a video design diploma graduate, I have always admired analogue photography/film/cinema.
Why? Because after working with digital camera for a few years, there are certain things which i can’t stand. But let me first clarify that I am not condemning digital photography/videography, which i will explain more later)
Like how we are always forced to use HD and then spend hours trying to colour correct everything into the “film look” as what we call it.
And noise. i hate it how the noise in digital pictures are little square pixels. They are not like grains in film, they are small abominable squares.
And here I am, shooting in HD, and colour correcting to make it look “grainy”
What’s up with that?
A lot of film enthusiasts would notice the saturation in certain colours in the older movies, because they were shot in film. This allows directors to set a certain rich colour tone to the movie, maybe to give a certain feel or to convey a theme or message. you can’t get the full effect shooting in digital. any pro can see what you did there if you used digital colour correction.
Another thing I do not like about digital at times, especially HD. Every little pimple or make up not done properly, will be shown in extreme clarity. Which gives more trouble to the crew.
Which brings me to the point: Why do I want to watch some photos or videos/film/movie to see something that looks very very real, like real life? I never got used to watching blue-ray live action movies. Except for animation.
The digital age has lead the creative industry to abuse the advanced technology in photography and videography/cinematography. Let me explain:
1. Over reliance on post production
Ever heard of people saying “oh it’s ok, we can always tweak it in post-pro.”? The poor editor.
My lecturer once told me: “you can make a good photo look better in photoshop, but never a lousy photo into a good photo.” Well, unless you edit it to the point it doesnt even look like the original.
Why is this a problem? It has lead to people, especially students, to not truly learn the foundations of photography, not making the proper preparation and planning, and always relying on post-pro. “Oh, we can always delete the photos, trial and error. If all else fails, photoshop!”
2. The dying art of Analogue
Digital Photography and Analogue Photography, i would say, can be classified into 2 different arts. I don’t mind digital photography, but I mind digital photography REPLACING analogue photography. To me, they are just different art forms, or using different mediums, just like how 3d animation, 2d animation and traditional animation is different. But the general mainstream have made it seem like “oh, nobody wants to watch traditional animation anymore, it is old and outdated, we must use 3d, or we will lose viewers.” Really? When was the last time you saw animation classics like Snow White and the 7 dwarfs (1937), Fantasia (1940). 70 years+ and people are still talking about it. Ever watched Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, Totoro, and the recent Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea? This is similar to the dying art of analogue photography, people only follow trends and not see the beauty in the art form itself. I am quite happy that Lomography is getting more popular at recent years!
I personally feel that learning analogue photography will greatly train a photographer’s “sense of photography”, or “photographer’s instinct”. How many times have a person missed an important shot because he or she was busy meddling with the settings? Point and shoot analogues can train a photographer to not think too much about a shot and thus training a photographer’s sense. The moment you get your photos developed you will learn how to adjust and improve your shots the next time round.
So is Analogue or Digital better?
I believe that in the world of fine arts and design, we have to learn to be flexible. Designers are problem solvers too. We have to meet deadlines. We have to find the fastest and most efficient way to get the best results. We should learn how to take advantage of the different strengths of both analogue and digital cameras, and NOT be limited by them. We are in control of our equipment, and we should not be limited and controlled by hardware.
Why shoot using a digital camera when you want a lomo feel? Instead of using the high end HD cameras to shoot, why not use a normal dv camera to shoot something like The Blairwitch Project?
IN CONCLUSION: I appreciate the convenience and other perks brought about by the digital age, but we must not forget the true beauty of Analogue Photography, which i believe, can only be achieved with film, and not digital processors.
LET US KEEP THE LOMOGRAPHY ART FORM ALIVE!