Firstly I'd like to send a A HUGE HUGE thank you to my Photoshop Jedi BOSS Nick D who gave me the ins to this. Clearly I was suuuuper excited! (just look at my face)
I felt SO so so so friggin lucky to be at the 25th anniversary of Toronto Image Works with famous Canadian Photographer and Artist Ed Burtynsky and his whole crew.
If you haven't heard, Ed Burtynsky is a Canadian Photographer and Artist best known for his large format landscape prints from many place around the world including Canada, China and Bangladesh. His work touches on social and environmental issues in all of these countries with his large format prints really leaving a HUGE impact on his viewers. Seriously, they're huge (https://www.edwardburtynsky.com/)
It was also SUCH a DELIGHT to have visited the TIW studios and printing house. Like a SERIOUS dream come true! The craftsmanship that is still involved in the printing at TIW was a beautiful reminder of the pre-digital era, with their fully functioning dark rooms. This for me had me really considering the differences between film and digital process.
I truly believe that film brings out the workmanship involved in really perfecting a photo and KNOWING how to light. I remember shooting film and the slow down, stop and think process that was required in order to expose your shot correctly forced you to REALLY understand your camera. Furthermore, you have to have REALLY wanted that print to come to life! ....and enjoyed the hours of darkroom processing it took to go through even a simple contact sheet. It was (if my memory serves me) a 5-6 step process including that shakey can pre-dark room, developing of your film process. Also, can you imagine having to MASK stuff by HAND?! Literally cutting out shapes to hide certain parts of your photo, exposing them and chemically treating them and potentially having to do that 5, 10, 20 more times in order to get the results you wanted. It was a lengthy process that needed to absolutely be guided by passion.
ON THE OTHER HAND digital has taken us into this creative wonderland.
The CRAFTSMANSHIP of photography has definitely changed as we moved from film to digital. Our darkrooms have become IPS screens and Photoshop shortcuts but has also allowed for a super fast turnover rate, so a serious increase in productivity and MAYBE, dare I say, sub par production??? The endless possibilities in Photoshop are actually mind blowing and if you know the software enough you can literally create anything; sets, makeup and hair may not even be necessary anymore and can all be created by the imagination in post, which IS SO COOL but also time consuming and really LBH, is all this filter, post magic mentality ruining our IN CAMERA skills?? Are we putting less importance on getting it right the first time with the knowing that we can press a few buttons and fix it after?? I'm arguing yes.. and only because I've been totally guilty of this too! There has been moments where I KNOW a shot didn't work but the ease of digital just keeps you carrying on.
So the question is this. Has digital photography actually enhanced our photography skills or just made it more accessible ?!
What do you think ?