Friday 2 March 2007

You don't need to know about film to be a good digital photographer!

There is an opinion out there, usually very strongly expressed!!, that you have to know all about shooting and developing film before you can become a good digital photographer.

This is nonsense! Understanding film will teach you nothing about digital photography, other than understanding exposure (which is no bad thing).

Let's face it, many people are snobs and the more scared people are the more snobbish they become. Those who would have you believe that "Film is King" are those who usually know very little about digital and are afraid that all their knowledge will come to nothing, that category is usually occupied by older people. The other category who believe "Film is King" are young people who have been taught by older people who believe "Film is King". This second category come under the influence of teachers and tutors born in a different age. The problem is that schools and colleges can only put on courses that their teachers can teach, and teachers can only teach what they know. So if you only know film and are afraid of losing your job/status to a younger, more 'digital friendly' teacher then you will use all your powers of persuasion to do down digital photography at every opportunity.

Collectively I call these people "The Photography Taleban", in other words any belief outside the strict interpretation of "Film is King" is heresy. Of course the only way to deal with heretics is not to understand them or to change your point of view, just kill them. Problem sorted.

Well the problem is not really sorted, because film is not king anymore. Film is dying on its feet and will not be available for much longer. It is already very hard to get certain types of film and developing chemicals that were widespread a few short years ago. Film will be long gone before this current crop retire and they will have to learn the new way because they will have to. What will happen then? Simple, the new mantra then will be "Digital is King", even when the rest of us have moved on to the replacement for digital a few years down the line.

1 comment:

Graham said...

Dave, I agree and disagree. First of all you said "digital photographer" and not just photographer. In that sense you are right if you are dedicating yourself to digital then film knowledge is useless to you.
However I feel that if you want to be a good "photographer" then you don't necessarily need to shoot film but you do need to have a basic understanding of the medium. From shooting to processing to developing.
Plus having such knowledge can only serve to further add to your own appreication and love of photography overall.
Just my two cents anyway