How often have we seen yesteryear’s passé technology resurrect in a brand new package to once again enjoy the same popularity it did decades ago.
The twentieth century was the era of the film camera.
These cameras were no slouches. They possessed many of the advanced features seen in their modern day digital counterparts.
The one fundamental difference between the two however, was the end result.
Images from film cameras could only be viewed after they were developed into prints. For the average photographer, that process took anywhere from a couple of days to a week. During which period you had absolutely no idea how they turned out.
My own journey into photography started with these cameras somewhere in the seventies. The prints so obtained were a direct reflection of the available technology and my financial status at the time they were shot.
Beginning with 2”x2” and 3”x2” black and whites and gradually progressing to color prints of 4”x6”, 8”x10” and the occasional 10”x12”.
Somewhere at the turn of the century I switched to digital photography. The entire household heaved a sigh of relief as the rising stacks of photographs, that were piling up alarmingly, ground to a standstill.
Suddenly there was no waiting, or paying, for prints. Images were now available for immediate viewing and distribution despite, funnily enough, being physically non-existent!
Thanks to the internet and social media, the click of a virtual button instantly allowed simultaneous viewership anywhere on earth. Heck, for that matter, to anyone in the universe who happened to be logged in!
It’s been fifteen years since I made the transition to digital imaging.
One of the major blessings of this type of photography is that it is never static.
A digital image can constantly be worked on. In fact each time I review an image the urge to edit and improve it is almost irresistible. Perhaps the colours were oversaturated…or it was a bit noisy…or the white balance needed tweaking…
I’m beginning to realize that this can also be its curse.
These images lack finality. By their very nature they will always remain a work in progress.
Not so a print.
Love it or hate it, a printed image is the absolute end result of a process that began when you first lifted your camera and depressed the shutter. Period. It imparts a sense of closure that a digital image can never ever hope to achieve. And allows you to move on.
Over the past few months I have taken a few baby steps into having my images printed.
Believe me, I have found out the hard way that this is easier said than done!
Types of printers, print quality, inks, paper options and terms like ‘ppi’, ‘dpi’, ‘archival’, ‘resolution’, ‘color gamut’ and ‘color calibration’ can make life pretty confusing.
And in a country where a vendor’s perception of a photographer’s vanity and gullibility plays a significant role in price settings it looks like the months ahead are going to be…to say the least…interesting!