Sunday, January 2, 2011

Capture versus Create

I was reading about the demise of Kodak's Kodachrome film, that last rolls produced earlier this year and the last film processing ending this week (Kodak stopped producing the necessary chemicals also earlier this year - sign of bad corporate decison to pursue profits over customers). While you still capture images with digital cameras, it's not the same as capturing a film photograph, and it's the difference between capturing and creating an image.

I distinguish between images which are captured digitally and photographs which are captured with film, mostly because I'm a curmudgeon and like the clear distinction to identify the differences between film and digital capture. It's purely semantic on my part, but while many confuse to mix the two, you understand the difference with me.

I also distinguish between a print and a digital image on the Web or elsewhere viewed by monitors. A print from any medium is still a print, whether printed traditionally with an enlarger or digitally with a printer. I'm now entirely digital print. All of that is just to keep it straight in my head what's what according to the source of the photograph or image and the final product.

But what crossed my thought (damn synapses keep firing) is that film is a capture and present format and digital is a capture and create format. Yes, photographs are created in the darkroom with the print process (long taught in photography schools) and created from digital images of scanned film (now taught in photography schools if/when film is used). But digital images are created from the moment of capture.

Film is absolute in that once captured, the film photograph is. It can't be changed except through scanning or printing. Digital images are, while captured in raw format, created from the camera through the photo/image editors. It's all open to manipulation by the photographer or editor. You can't print a raw file, you have to create a printable version. You can print a film slide or negative but you can't print a digital raw image.

And that's the difference to me. I use both, and sadly have some rolls of unshot Kodachrome which will never see the light of day. My mistake. But I won't stop shooting other black and white film and color slide film. It's a different mindset to capture with film than with digital cameras, one I like with digital capture. I'm a film curmudgeon to some extent and hope I never see the day I can't be one.

Anyway, that's the thought.

1 comment:

  1. I still like film. Of course part of that is not being able to afford a great digital camera - but only part. I have an old 20d for my digital stuff and then I like to shoot various film cameras; a Mamiya c330, Yashicamat EM, a Canon A2 and a cute little Canonet rangefinder. All very fun.

    I like to shoot black and white film with the 120 cameras. For some reason, I just can't imagine doing black and white work with a digital... it feels fake. :)