Forums > General Industry > "Digital Ruined Fashion Photography"

Photographer

Rick Edwards

Posts: 6163

Wilmington, Delaware, US

Jim Lafferty wrote:
Is it that or do we often clutch to some romantic notion that film had something that is now inaccessible?

I think the ability to really "use" film was the inaccessible part of photography that digital has removed and opened it up to the masses, for good and/or bad.

Jan 21 13 04:38 pm Link

Photographer

Patrick Walberg

Posts: 42740

Salinas, California, US

Rick Edwards wrote:
I think the ability to really "use" film was the inaccessible part of photography that digital has removed and opened it up to the masses, for good and/or bad.

I think that having the knowledge of how to shoot film makes the learning curve for learning to shoot digital much easier.   Without the knowledge that can come from having shot film, the understanding of things like aperture, shutter speed, and light are not as easily grasped.  Also for those having worked in a darkroom as related to using Photoshop.  Knowledge from a analog photography education can help with digital.

As to the title, I don't think "digital ruined fashion..." and I'm not sure that is where Norman Jean Roy is coming from.   It's just changed it.  Quoting him from the interview "If and when I have to shoot digitally, I always shoot to card and never show anyone ..."  I think he is just being stubborn about change, or having a difficult time grasping the digital side of photography?   It's good to know both digital and film!

I do sometimes put the card away and take a good look at it the next day perhaps, but I shoot as if I'm shooting film too.  I shoot with the camera on manual settings because that is what I learned on so many years ago, and I even like using my real glass from my film bodies.  Other photographers can depend on the "auto" or dummy settings if they want, but not me.

Jan 21 13 04:50 pm Link

Photographer

Rick Edwards

Posts: 6163

Wilmington, Delaware, US

Patrick Walberg wrote:
I think that having the knowledge of how to shoot film makes the learning curve for learning to shoot digital much easier.   Without the knowledge that can come from having shot film, the understanding of things like aperture, shutter speed, and light are not as easily grasped.  Also for those having worked in a darkroom as related to using Photoshop.  Knowledge from a analog photography education can help with digital.

absolutely

I always tell my students to turn off the P, A, and S and think for themselves about exposure, DOF, focus, etc...

Jan 21 13 05:03 pm Link

Photographer

WIP

Posts: 15543

Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom

Photographers have lost there standing, if you look at some of the editorial Bailey and that era no stylist, MUA and the model turned up as did the clothes on the day.
It was when photographers had to be creative without an art directors backup.
Then art directors took over and the photographers started to loose their creative input.
Today it's the retouchers that rule. Retouchers can be booked for a job before the photographers as they now control the digital output.

Very few photographers now a days can dictate the shoot and do their own thing.

Jan 21 13 05:08 pm Link

Photographer

JOEL McDONALD

Posts: 608

Portland, Oregon, US

Overall I've come to appreciate a number of aspects of digital. My two issues with digital are more philosophical:

1) Is that for so many "photographers" the camera IS the actual photographer.

IT does the heavy lifting by quickly doing any and all the formerly mechanical aspects of pre-digital cameras. The "science" of knowing how to capture a good image is pretty much gone for many of those that have only worked with digital.

There's so much less actual knowledge of existing light, film speeds and types, shutter and aperture, and there's little risk of missing that one shot due to a miss set lens. And no worry about making every shot count and not "wasting" film.

Also, I've been noticing an increasing lack of knowledge of composition and visual aesthetics.

and ... 

2) Is that from an archival/historical standpoint it pretty well marks the end of those rare "finds".

Twenty+ years from now what will remain of images now being shot with digital cameras by the everyday novice? Every now and then a story emerges of someone finding a box or album of "old" transparencies, negs or prints in grandma's attic.

Hold up a slide and find Marilyn Monroe as a teen, Elvis as a young road show performer, the Grassy Knoll, or Neil Armstrong as a cadet, smoking pot at Woodstock watching Hendrix, or an erupting Mt St Helens from a totally new angle.

With the way HDs crash, cds become unreadable, photoshop alters and technology advances (remember SyQuest & Zip drives?) what will be in grandma's closet in 20+ years from now?

Gone may very likely be childhood images of the first man/woman on Mars, the high school grad pictures of the 1st Gay, Asian, blind, or woman President, the science fair picture of a future Nobel Laureate, the childhood award shot of a future Olympian, or a family outing pic of someone or thing as yet not notable.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/30325552

Jan 28 13 02:06 pm Link

Photographer

Herman van Gestel

Posts: 2149

Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands

if you own a camera you're a photographer,
if you own a flute, you're a flute owner  :p

Jan 28 13 02:38 pm Link

Photographer

JOEL McDONALD

Posts: 608

Portland, Oregon, US

Herman van Gestel wrote:
if you own a camera you're a photographer,
if you own a flute, you're a flute owner  :p

if you own a camera you're a camera owner,
if your own a flute, you're a flute owner smile

Jan 28 13 02:41 pm Link

Photographer

Patrick Walberg

Posts: 42740

Salinas, California, US

JOEL McDONALD wrote:
Overall I've come to appreciate a number of aspects of digital. My two issues with digital are more philosophical:

1) Is that for so many "photographers" the camera IS the actual photographer.

IT does the heavy lifting by quickly doing any and all the formerly mechanical aspects of pre-digital cameras. The "science" of knowing how to capture a good image is pretty much gone for many of those that have only worked with digital.

There's so much less actual knowledge of existing light, film speeds and types, shutter and aperture, and there's little risk of missing that one shot due to a miss set lens. And no worry about making every shot count and not "wasting" film.

Also, I've been noticing an increasing lack of knowledge of composition and visual aesthetics.

and ... 

2) Is that from an archival/historical standpoint it pretty well marks the end of those rare "finds".

Twenty+ years from now what will remain of images now being shot with digital cameras by the everyday novice? Every now and then a story emerges of someone finding a box or album of "old" transparencies, negs or prints in grandma's attic.

Hold up a slide and find Marilyn Monroe as a teen, Elvis as a young road show performer, the Grassy Knoll, or Neil Armstrong as a cadet, smoking pot at Woodstock watching Hendrix, or an erupting Mt St Helens from a totally new angle.

With the way HDs crash, cds become unreadable, photoshop alters and technology advances (remember SyQuest & Zip drives?) what will be in grandma's closet in 20+ years from now?

Gone may very likely be childhood images of the first man/woman on Mars, the high school grad pictures of the 1st Gay, Asian, blind, or woman President, the science fair picture of a future Nobel Laureate, the childhood award shot of a future Olympian, or a family outing pic of someone or thing as yet not notable.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/30325552

You made two very important points (issues) in your comment!  I agree with you.  I enjoy certain aspects of digital, but I'm still very nostalgic towards the use of film.

Jan 28 13 02:42 pm Link

Photographer

Jez Sullivan

Posts: 124

London, England, United Kingdom

Technology has changed, it sounds like he s not comfortable with that, Im sure there are pluses and minuses to the change, I grew up on film, shot my degree show on transparency. I think the instant gratification of film useful. I had a break from photography when digital came up properly so it was a culture shock to return to it and theres all these new words like workflow.

Having said that I think this era of sharing information is amazing and much more refreshing that days of yore.

On another point Ive played in bands for the last 20 years and Im amazed at how the UK toilet circuit has changed, when I started you d play a headline set and have a support band, everyone would get some sort of soundcheck, whereas nowadays its usually a 4-5 band bill and chaos ensures. I really don't think the quality is there because of that. Its like musicians are treated like a useless plentiful commodity.

Jan 28 13 02:48 pm Link

Photographer

Patrick Walberg

Posts: 42740

Salinas, California, US

Jez S wrote:
Technology has changed, it sounds like he s not comfortable with that, Im sure there are pluses and minuses to the change, I grew up on film, shot my degree show on transparency. I think the instant gratification of film useful. I had a break from photography when digital came up properly so it was a culture shock to return to it and theres all these new words like workflow.

Having said that I think this era of sharing information is amazing and much more refreshing that days of yore.

On another point Ive played in bands for the last 20 years and Im amazed at how the UK toilet circuit has changed, when I started you d play a headline set and have a support band, everyone would get some sort of soundcheck, whereas nowadays its usually a 4-5 band bill and chaos ensures. I really don't think the quality is there because of that. Its like musicians are treated like a useless plentiful commodity.

You make some wonderful points that I can relate to!  As we grow into adult age and older, most of us are uncomfortable to some extent with "change!"   I know I am!  But I don't let it stop me from learning and progressing.  Digital technology has certainly opened the doors to many more people being able to participate in the creative arts like music and photography. 

Like you, I come from the era of film and analog recording.  Even though I am nostalgic for the past, I don't want to get left behind.  Many people feel the same way as I've seen digital try to replicate the warmth of film and analog recordings to an extent.  I've also seen the changes in the music industry too, but there are still many young artists who emulate the great music and artists of the past ... many who were not even born yet when that music was popular.  You hear it and see it all the time on Youtube!  wink

Jan 28 13 04:13 pm Link

Photographer

KurtVdV

Posts: 54

Leuven, Flemish Brabant, Belgium

I love the interview and was thinking by myself:

Today we can look at the back of the camera and think "Delete this picture, it's not good enough, just change that light, choose another aperture, try again,...".
How many photographers can nail a shot from nearly the first picture taken?
If you would cover the display on your camera and view the pictures for the 1st time on your computer at home, would you be more focused on a shoot?

Jan 29 13 12:51 am Link

Photographer

Herman van Gestel

Posts: 2149

Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands

KurtVdV wrote:
I love the interview and was thinking by myself:

Today we can look at the back of the camera and think "Delete this picture, it's not good enough, just change that light, choose another aperture, try again,...".
How many photographers can nail a shot from nearly the first picture taken?
If you would cover the display on your camera and view the pictures for the 1st time on your computer at home, would you be more focused on a shoot?

yep, better preparation, better focussed....most would be lost if they couldn't chimp....

You see the difference with film-shooters, they can pre-visualise better a shot, how it will be turning out

would be a hilarious kind of tragi-comedy to see a digital shooter without display big_smile

Jan 29 13 01:01 am Link

Photographer

JOEL McDONALD

Posts: 608

Portland, Oregon, US

In some ways I see some photogs use digital cameras the way some of their predecessors did when the motor drive was created for SLRs.

Shoot for broke and just "pick" the best. It worked for action shoots, was a crutch for portrait & fashion.

Jan 29 13 08:47 am Link

Photographer

Herman van Gestel

Posts: 2149

Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands

Patrick Walberg wrote:
The zone system?  I'm sorry if I misunderstand you, but do you mean bracketing?

euhm.... Zone System has nothing to do with bracketing....ZS is about pre-visualisation, at which film-users are better trained at..

Jan 29 13 03:30 pm Link

Photographer

JOEL McDONALD

Posts: 608

Portland, Oregon, US

Herman van Gestel wrote:
euhm.... Zone System has nothing to do with bracketing....ZS is about pre-visualisation, at which film-users are better trained at..

sigh. :-(

A tear just came to Ansel Adams' eye. And he's been dead for years.

Jan 29 13 03:37 pm Link

Photographer

Herman van Gestel

Posts: 2149

Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands

JOEL McDONALD wrote:

sigh. :-(

A tear just came to Ansel Adams' eye. And he's been dead for years.

ZS in the digital era i mean wink...here is the rest of the discussion wink

https://secure.modelmayhem.com/po.php?t … 130&page=1

Jan 29 13 03:40 pm Link

Photographer

Darren Brade

Posts: 2831

London, England, United Kingdom

Damn that P for Program button on my camera! I knew it was up to no good and should be avoided at all costs.

Jan 29 13 04:04 pm Link

Photographer

Herman van Gestel

Posts: 2149

Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands

Darren Brade wrote:
Damn that P for Program button on my camera! I knew it was up to no good and should be avoided at all costs.

P is indeed for a eufemism for "Dumb mode" , a well known fact, long before the digital era wink

Jan 29 13 04:06 pm Link

Photographer

Zack Zoll

Posts: 2627

Glens Falls, New York, US

Michael Pandolfo wrote:
Part of the article made it sound like he was saying digital was responsible for that. And maybe that's partially true because it fostered a culture change in photography. But it's one that permeates everything, not just photography...instant gratification.

I guess it's a chicken/egg argument but did digital propel that culture change or was digital introduced to feed that demand?

It was both.  A lot of people wanted their photos asap, and a lot of people didn't care until it suddenly became an option.

It used to be that brides had no problem waiting six months to get their wedding album.  SIX MONTHS!  And our class photos took at least a month to get back when we were little kiddos - some of us couldn't even fit into the clothes we were wearing in the pictures by the time they showed up.

The reason digital "killed" things is that it made instant gratification not just possible, but the norm.  People want things right away not because it's best, but because they can.  And when you're operating on that sort of timetable, certain sacrifices need to be made.  The largest, in my mind, is that photoshoots often end when someone thinks they got the right shot.  With film you didn't know, so you'd keep shooting - and maybe get something even better.

Patrick Walberg wrote:

The zone system?  I'm sorry if I misunderstand you, but do you mean bracketing?  When shooting a subject that moves, often times we don't have the luxury of capture of the same exact images by bracketing.  Most of the models I've shot with are dancers and move constantly.  I know that I can ask them to repeat a pose, but I don't always want to do so as it can break up the flow of the shoot.  Also when I shoot live concerts, I only have split seconds to get some of the shots.  Many times I've had a "media babysitter" hanging over me making sure I only shoot the first two songs.  I do keep the zone system in mind, but I know what my manual settings on my camera should be in advance of the shoot, and try to stay with it.  wink

The Zone System is not bracketing.  The Zone System also does not tell you how your photo will look before you have developed it.  The Zone System is a system of exposure and developing (which only kind of works with digital capture) that allows you to get the maximum amount of tonal range from a given exposure.

The Zone System works best with sheet film, since images can be developed differently.

When using sheet film, you can't see and shoot at the same time.  There is about a five second gap between the latest image you see through the camera and what the negative captures, and that's assuming you rush.  If you take your time, it's closer to 15 or 30 seconds.

That means that if you're using the Zone System full-on, it is literally impossible to see if the model moved, blinked, etc. until after you develop your film.

You can use a simplified version of the Zone System with roll film.  If you're shooting a TLR, which uses a separate lens for viewing and taking, you can see if someone blinked.

So unless you're shooting with a Rolleiflex, no film camera or system will tell you exactly what your pictures will look like until you actually have your pictures.

Jan 31 13 04:38 pm Link

Photographer

Rick Edwards

Posts: 6163

Wilmington, Delaware, US

JOEL McDONALD wrote:
Is that from an archival/historical standpoint it pretty well marks the end of those rare "finds".

Twenty+ years from now what will remain of images now being shot with digital cameras by the everyday novice? Every now and then a story emerges of someone finding a box or album of "old" transparencies, negs or prints in grandma's attic.

Hold up a slide and find Marilyn Monroe as a teen, Elvis as a young road show performer, the Grassy Knoll, or Neil Armstrong as a cadet, smoking pot at Woodstock watching Hendrix, or an erupting Mt St Helens from a totally new angle.

With the way HDs crash, cds become unreadable, photoshop alters and technology advances (remember SyQuest & Zip drives?) what will be in grandma's closet in 20+ years from now?

Gone may very likely be childhood images of the first man/woman on Mars, the high school grad pictures of the 1st Gay, Asian, blind, or woman President, the science fair picture of a future Nobel Laureate, the childhood award shot of a future Olympian, or a family outing pic of someone or thing as yet not notable.

I remember seeing a report that said fewer and fewer people were printing out hard copies of their images so you're right, there will be less and less of the "amazing find" of a whole bunch of shots.  Stuff will be lost forever in the cloud, locked in password protected files that the relatives of the dearly departed will have no way of knowing about or even getting into...

Jan 31 13 06:06 pm Link

Photographer

Viator Defessus Photos

Posts: 1120

College Station, Texas, US

Herman van Gestel wrote:

P is indeed for a eufemism for "Dumb mode" , a well known fact, long before the digital era wink

P still lets you set ISO speed at least (IIRC, I never use it). Nowadays, it's that little green "A" that tells everyone that you're clueless.

Jan 31 13 06:18 pm Link

Photographer

Patrick Walberg

Posts: 42740

Salinas, California, US

Zack Zoll wrote:
The reason digital "killed" things is that it made instant gratification not just possible, but the norm.  People want things right away not because it's best, but because they can.

Very much agree!

Patrick Walberg wrote:
The zone system?

Zack Zoll wrote:
The Zone System is not bracketing.  The Zone System also does not tell you how your photo will look before you have developed it.  The Zone System is a system of exposure and developing (which only kind of works with digital capture) that allows you to get the maximum amount of tonal range from a given exposure.

The Zone System works best with sheet film, since images can be developed differently.

When using sheet film, you can't see and shoot at the same time.  There is about a five second gap between the latest image you see through the camera and what the negative captures, and that's assuming you rush.  If you take your time, it's closer to 15 or 30 seconds.

That means that if you're using the Zone System full-on, it is literally impossible to see if the model moved, blinked, etc. until after you develop your film.

You can use a simplified version of the Zone System with roll film.  If you're shooting a TLR, which uses a separate lens for viewing and taking, you can see if someone blinked.

So unless you're shooting with a Rolleiflex, no film camera or system will tell you exactly what your pictures will look like until you actually have your pictures.

Thank you very much for not making fun of me like some people ... "Adams with a tear?"   As I had basic black and white film photography class over 30 years ago when I was a youngster!  That information was there in the back of my mind, just had to clear some cobwebs.  Because of the vast majority of subjects I shot, I never owned a view camera, yet learned to use one.  My camera of choice was the 35 mm film camera or cameras that were medium forums like the 645, the 6x6, or the 6x7 of which I've owned.  Using the grey card,and bracketing were common for me, but using the zone system was out of the question in most shooting situations for me.  That would be why I forgot all about it.  So also a thank you for the refresher.  smile

Also I do understand how the zone system works with the twin lens reflex camera as my 6x6 was such ... but that camera only was used for weddings.   I like shooting subjects that might blink, move or be on stage.  Although I enjoy shooting film, the need to know I've got the shot has been why I've been shooting mostly digital now.

Jan 31 13 10:30 pm Link

Photographer

Zack Zoll

Posts: 2627

Glens Falls, New York, US

Yeah, you can use the first part of the zone system with any camera, film or digital.  The first part is using your light meter to identify the darkest and lightest areas in the scene that should contain detail, and then selecting an exposure smack-dab in the middle of that, regardless of what your meter says.  That works better for B&W film, as it generally allows for greater exposure latitude that other mediums.  But some of the new FF DSLRs are getting really close.

The second part, which you basically need sheet film for, is to develop each negative for more or less contrast, based on how much contrast the scene had to start with.

And then there's some math, but that's it in a nutshell.

Feb 01 13 06:36 am Link

Photographer

Andrew Thomas Evans

Posts: 24078

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

KurtVdV wrote:
I love the interview and was thinking by myself:

Today we can look at the back of the camera and think "Delete this picture, it's not good enough, just change that light, choose another aperture, try again,...".
How many photographers can nail a shot from nearly the first picture taken?
If you would cover the display on your camera and view the pictures for the 1st time on your computer at home, would you be more focused on a shoot?

To your question, and let's up it a little and say someone could only shoot less than 100 shots - 10 rolls though my RB67.

First, they shot polaroids back then, which gave a decent idea of what the lighting was going to be like. Sure it was slower, but eventually everyone got an idea and the real shooting started.

Next, I personally don't think I'd be less focused, but I'd be more safe. With digital I (we) can see blinks, shadows that we want to change, check the focus, and check expression. I'd more than likely use a little softer light, meter around the person more than I would have before, use the modeling lights more, and take things a bit slower. I wouldn't move lights around as much, and wouldn't try as much as I do with lights. Not that it would make the shots any worse, just different and a bit safer to shoot.



Andrew Thomas Evans
www.andrewthomasevans.com

Feb 01 13 07:46 am Link

Photographer

Andrew Thomas Evans

Posts: 24078

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Viator-Defessus Photos wrote:
P still lets you set ISO speed at least (IIRC, I never use it). Nowadays, it's that little green "A" that tells everyone that you're clueless.

But the funny thing is, a lot of people who shoot manual don't understand in camera metering, so they mostly end up where "A" would have got them, only they took longer!

smile


I love running into people who are like "how do I learn to shoot manual" and then get confused when I start talking about metering.




Andrew Thomas Evans
www.andrewthomasevans.com

Feb 01 13 07:49 am Link

guide forum

Photographer

Giacomo Cirrincioni

Posts: 21383

New York, New York, US

The "democratization" of any process simply means working towards the least common denominator.

The culture is shit, and kind of always has been (as are most) but there was a higher culture, especially in fashion, that didn't care and, as a result, didn't pander to the masses (anyone remember what happened when Halston tried to do a line at JC Penny?).  While digital hasn't really effected the high end, there has been a trickle down effect on photography in general across multiple disciplines including practical (product) photography.

Talk to art directors, they speak the truth.  They are, in general, selling to a less sophisticated audience who either doesn't care or simply doesn't know any better.

Interestingly, the best are reverting to older ways, or using hybrid approaches to set themselves apart from the great unwashed.

Digital isn't by itself the problem.  Mediocrity is.  Digital just increased the angle of the downward slope.

Feb 01 13 07:57 am Link

Photographer

JOEL McDONALD

Posts: 608

Portland, Oregon, US

Paramour Productions wrote:
The "democratization" of any process simply means working towards the least common denominator.

The culture is shit, and kind of always has been (as are most) but there was a higher culture, especially in fashion, that didn't care and, as a result, didn't pander to the masses (anyone remember what happened when Halston tried to do a line at JC Penny?).  While digital hasn't really effected the high end, there has been a trickle down effect on photography in general across multiple disciplines including practical (product) photography.

Talk to art directors, they speak the truth.  They are, in general, selling to a less sophisticated audience who either doesn't care or simply doesn't know any better.

Interestingly, the best are reverting to older ways, or using hybrid approaches to set themselves apart from the great unwashed.

Digital isn't by itself the problem.  Mediocrity is.  Digital just increased the angle of the downward slope.

Wow, VERY well stated.

Feb 01 13 08:08 am Link