Sunday 1 May 2016

Digital picture taken. Never to be viewed again.

When I started thinking about this post, it was originally going to be a piece lamenting a consequence of moving to digital.

Most pictures taken nowadays are maybe looked at once and are never viewed again. Lost forever on the computer hard drive or camera phone.

Searching for them on a computer, or smartphone meant trawling through the library or folders. This could prove difficult to do unless you catalogued or keyworded them.

Prints on the other hand can easily be passed around without having to crowd around a screen.

Because the film had to be printed it was more likely that the pictures would be framed and hung on the wall.

But hold on a minute, perhaps I'm wrong. Most prints from film were only looked at a few times, before being put in a draw.

Finding them later meant remembering which draw they were stored in. Was the envelope labeled - or is a major search and rescue on the cards?

Digital images can be quickly uploaded and viewed online via social media - or emailed to people. At home you can view them on your television and these days we all have huge screens.

Film made learning and experimenting expensive.

You had to send the film off, or take it to a shop. And wait.

I remember returned from holiday with some exposures unused. What to do? Send the roll to be developed anyway, wait for another occasion to get the camera out, or use up the last few pictures on anything?

If you did wait to use the film completely before getting it developed it was sometimes like a trip down memory lane. Such was the time between nearly using all of the film and finishing it.

Most people didn't routinely carry a film camera. The smartphone has meant less missed "kodak moments".

Going digital has led to more pictures being taken and then being shared more widely.

Being able to see the pictures instantly means I can learn from every shot.

So perhaps my initial thought - that prints were better than digital - was wrong. In fact, I would go further and say that digital offers many advantages over print.

The only disadvantage I can think of is that photography is maybe less valued. Both by the general public and the industry. That's an idea for another blog

But I still think we should print them occasionally, frame them, and hang them on a wall.

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