General Photography

Is the History of Photography Changing Face?

No one would argue that we have seen a massive explosion over this decade in the digital photography arena. Imaging and graphics just get better and better while costs are reduced and let’s face it, cameras continually get better as well. As a result most have abandoned the film platform for obvious reasons. There were of course those who forecasted the demise of film and few would argue with that prophecy now. Even Nikon, an icon in the photographic industry has announced that it will not be continuing many of its film cameras. The truth be known there still may be a flash left in the film industry yet…

No one would argue that we have seen a massive explosion over this decade in the digital photography arena. Imaging and graphics just get better and better while costs are reduced and let’s face it, cameras continually get better as well. As a result most have abandoned the film platform for obvious reasons. There were of course those who forecasted the demise of film and few would argue with that prophecy now. Even Nikon, an icon in the photographic industry has announced that it will not be continuing many of its film cameras. The truth be known there still may be a flash left in the film industry yet.

The entry to digital photography has been pleasing to most photographers even the most hardened film lovers can now see their way clear to quit harping and move on. It’s so much easier with the LCD screen opening up what we want in focus. Little or no ongoing expense when the pictures have been taken. No more ushering people to another room of the house so you can work in the dark. What’s more is that you can easily find places to develop and print your images yourself. While technology continues to move ahead at lightning speed we find interconnectivity helping to make procedure even easier. Why, we can even upload to the net now from our mobiles or cell phones. Where does that leave film photography then you might ask?

Arguably, that obviously sees film disappearing from both households and media offices and as mentioned above some would say it is going to disappear completely. Of course, that also puts it squarely into the realm of art. Recent years have been showing record sales for photographs at the larger photographic retail stores. October 2005 sales hit $30 million almost doubling 2004’s $17.7 million in one sector. Wet photography (film) passes further into the realm of art, prices will likely continue to rise perhaps even for lesser-known artists. It is rumoured that collectors are already paying premium prices for some types of photos. They would be cyanotypes, daguerreotypes, and platinum prints. Reasons could range from nostalgia and rarity to a pet concept of mine, authenticity and the rise of “fake authenticity”.

Tom Galliher expressed feelings shared by many photographers about Photoshop and digital photography in general. “I really like to get it right with the camera. Using Photoshop to fix everything just seems dishonest.” and to be honest Tom still shoots a lot of his commercial work on film. There is a certain depth to “real” photos. There is just some sort of life you get with photo emulsion that is missing with a giclee. At the end of the day a giclee is just a computer printout while each traditional photograph, regardless of method, is in some minor way, unique.


An increasing number of fine art photographers are using darkroom techniques and smarter camera work to produce their finished products while ensuring that collectors understand. Another photographer of note, Gregory Colbert, continues to use traditional techniques. He works with 35mm film to produce images as large as five by eight feet. The grain in the prints, made with film pushed beyond it’s theoretical limits, is striking and adds to the art giving it a relatable organic nature seldom achieved with the digital format.The result is a comfortable evolution of photographic imaging formats where functionality rules for many commercial photographers, amateurs and consumers for whom wet photography has run it’s course and a continuation and probable elevation of traditional methods among fine art photographers. So, perhaps the thing to do is continue to collect those lovely original photos and keep your eyes open for fantastic deals on film cameras and darkroom equipment.

Published here by Ray Baker. Ray guides you on starting a photography business and places strong emphasis on profitability issues & guidelines. This is where you can learn more on Photoshop. If you are seeking photography insights, help (mostly free) try a digital photography tip or two. For brief reviews on services or equipment (many free) see photography equipment