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The Case of the Disappearing Print

johnriley1uk > johnriley1uk Blog > The Case of the Disappearing Print
07/04/2012 - 12:40 PM



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I can see it happening, that is, the demise of the traditional print for competitions, displays, not for exhibitions, but certainly for most things.

It all started when those pesky dry plates came along and wet plates were so clearly superior. Lazy modern photographers wanted it all doing for them, so once the dry plate was invented then it was downhill all the way. Then someone invented film. Unbelievable. Then roll film. Then cameras shrank and miniatrue 6x6cm roll film cameras ruled the day. Then 35mm film, the ultimate insult to quality....could it get any worse?

Well yes, goodbye to Kodachrome II and hello to Kodachrome 25 was bad enough, but then no Kodachrome at all? At least we had our darkrooms and could produce very nice 16" x 12" prints to mount on boards for the camera club. Then one day came digital.....

I looked with amazement at the man from Canon who explained to me that this ridiculous little 400 pixel camera would only cost me 16,000.00 - he was jesting, surely? Somebody must have bought one, because Canon are still around though.

The penny finally dropped when my Fuji S602 Pro (3.1MP or 6MP if we cheat on the counting) actually made better A3 macro images than my finest film cameras. That is, not such good character and colour maybe, but far better close up sharpness, achieved far more easily. The Fuji S7000 was even better, alkthough subsequent models I found a bit of a disappointment. When Pentax started making reasonably priced DSLRs, the choice was clear....

So where are we now? Competitions at the camera club generate huge qualtities of digitally projected images but very few prints by comparison, probably on grounds of cost and the inconvenience of printng and mounting. Those who made colour slides out of digital images seem to have recovered from that rather strange pursuit and slides have all gone. But the digital image is there in all its glory, printed in Blurb and Albelli books for posterity, splashed across the web, projected at the camera club at a glorious size that even those at the back can enjoy.

Actually, life has never been better! Grin

Comments

WalterBrooks
14 Apr 2012 - 11:23 AM

John, but that is the inevitability of the nature of photography now, even with something as simple as the humble family/ holiday snapshot - I doubt that many ever get to print, why would you need to when you can upload, download, burn to a CD/ DVD, send it in an e-mail or direct from you iPhone, iPad and whatever the next gadget will be.

And that's part of the issue - the apparent immediacy of the need to communicate, which I guess was driven by news/ commerce and which was then fostered by the industry to continue to drive pro sales and pulling the non pro along close behind.

Has it improved the photography? It has certainly opened up the hobby to more people and created more aspiring "David Baileys" who know nothing about photography and whilst I appreciate some value of the digital medium, there is still something undeniably tangible when holding/ looking at a print, more so from a darkroom or turning the pages of an album of prints stuck down on the page.

Regards

WSmile

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