A life in analogue requires trust, understanding, and appreciation of the tools of making images and skills that the digital grind doesn't necessarily require. These are the skills that make analogue photography more memorable and more permanent.
Twelve months ago I drooled over Nikon D3s and Canon 7Ds that friends and colleagues used. They were what I wanted to work towards. While looking through poster designs ideas with a co-worker I came across an image of a Diana and a world of exploration and apreciation opened up to me.
From working on newspaper and sports photo agency picture desks my world in images has been rapid and new. Images can lose all meaning very easily when hundreds of the same scene land in front of you.
The day Obama was inaugurated I looked through over 12,000 images that dropped onto my screen from the various news agencies around the world that covered the event. And not one photographer’s name from all the agencies that sent pictures to the news desk do I remember. The photographer isn’t important.
How many analogue photographs and analogue photographers can you easly and quickly recall and describe. And now try to recall digital ones.
Sure it’s great to be able to shoot loads of images and instantly check the results and reshoot straight away if not happy, but there are skills that many photographer, as a result, shamefully, don’t need a full understanding of anymore..
For me, the new love affair with analogue has changed how I shoot and how I understand shooting.
The world presents itself to me in a much more colourful way now, I can see how images are going to look on each and every camera I use before I shoot it, even when I shoot black and white. Before, none of that mattered I’d just shoot check out the image change some settings and shoot again until I got it right.
Flash photography is the greatest eye opener, with digital again you just shoot a few until its right, but with analogue you come to trust your cameras, flashes and film to perform in certain ways and trust yourself to know how each will lend itself to making the image.
Film releases that necessity to check as you go. Taking a photo becomes making a photo. Knowing what aperture and shutter speed to use and what the type of film for certain situations is a skill that only trusting in analogue will teach. More importantly, just letting go and experimenting with enough appreciation of the things that lend themselves to making a photograph will make you more adaptable for every shooting situation.
Through developing and watching the images come to life you learn to understand your camera and different types of film. And the only way to know and understand more is to keep going, becoming ever more experimental and daring just to find out all the limitations and then getting past them.
It is the understanding and appreciation through experimentation and a confident trusting of your own abilities that allows for the making of images that will far outlast, in your memory and, hopefully, the memories of others, than your digital imagery.
But there will always be those who argue that the same images can be done on digital and with good editing skills anything can be achieved. Twelve months ago I’d have fallen in that category.
I prefer the hands on and physical approach where the craft of image making is central to one’s photography and with that analogue photography is an art form that the digital world can only ever mimic and never replace.