The last time photography saw such a dramatic change was with the introduction of film photography. This made photography much more accessible than using glass plate.
The uneasiness that still exists to some degree on both sides of the debate makes it sound like digital and film are uneasy bedfellows.
But are they, really?
The debate isn’t really which medium is better, but rather which medium allows the photographer to take his / her images in the way that he / she would want. What tends to be missing from the debate is what medium the photographer feels most comfortable taking images in and what quality or feel he / she is after. The latter can be quite a subtle thing, and most people probably wouldn’t notice.
If few people notice the difference, what’s the point of pursuing either?
At the end of the day, both mediums capture images. But the way each medium takes the image is quite different. One is based on pixels, the other is molecular. Both go through different processes to create the image – one on a computer-like device, the other through a chemical process.
The difference between digital and film images may not be immediately apparent on the surface, but fundamentally both are different. Both have a different feel to them. Many may not pick this up, but more serious photographers may be able to. Knowing
The possibilities of both gives photographers so many options and choices.
I am a very tactile person and I feel more comfortable with film photography, particularly black & white for my artistic work. For me, photography isn’t only about the image. It is also about the feel and texture of the image. In my more artistic photography, it’s more about being able to viewing an image to the point of being almost to feel it.
That isn’t to say that you can’t get similar results with digital, but it feels different. To me, it’s a different medium altogether – like comparing oil painting with watercolours. One is not better than the other, but both are different.
I do use digital photography, but in a very different way. I tend to use it for more event photography, because it’s cheaper and quicker to turn around. But as an artist, I still prefer to use film. I would like to emphasis preference. Many people prefer digital, and that’s fine.
Digital’s impact on photography has been beneficial in making photography much more accessible to people, and has pushed the boundaries of photography with photo manipulation. It’s often cheaper, particularly when experimenting.
But it’s a double edge sword. As more people photograph, it doesn’t mean they necessarily understand their camera, or photography principles. For most people, the automatic setting of their cameras suits their needs fine. However, it’s sometimes far too easy to leave the automatic setting on a nice digital camera than to bother to understand how to use the manual settings.