Sunday, May 31, 2009

Is the old way the best way?

There is a trend emerging on the net, generally amongst older photographers, to point to simpler times and advise the new generation to follow a similar path. Usually this will involve some sort of return to film, a fully manual camera, and a simple fixed focal length lens. The idea seems to be that by forcing people into a more rigidly controlled,less forgiving environment they will acquire a deeper understanding of the craft of photography and gain discipline from the experience.

I am not so sure.

In reading blogs from many of these people, another theme that comes through is their dissatisfaction with digital and its inability to replicate what they got with film. As if the replication of what they have done in the past is the ultimate aim of the new medium.

I wonder if, the discipline these people have learnt is actually a strait jacket, constricting their creativity and their ability to adapt. Worse, I wonder if by encouraging newcomers to photography to follow their path, while certainly giving the new guys and girls a greater grasp of the craft, if they aren't also crippling their art in the long term.

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