This week someone questioned why I use analog photography. I already knew the answer in fact if you are a frequent reader you will know that I touched the subject briefly not so long ago. His question however made me think about it again. What I wrote before still counts, but I guess that that is more my personal reasoning and a romanticized idea of what a beautiful picture looks like, than a justification of my use of this medium.
I still love analog photography for those reasons, but why do I use it as the key way to take photographs in my practice instead of digital?
Marshall McLuhan wrote: “The medium is the message”.
So choosing to use analog photography instead of digital will obviously affect the way the viewer perceives it.
One argument was that using analog photography is often more a fetish of the medium and the process in the darkroom. Especially because it is now days possible to attain the same result with a digital print modified thought Photoshop.
That may very well be. I am not so trained in Photoshop when it comes to decay. But I would still argue that a thing that distinguishes the two is, that one gets a different joy in taking a good analog picture than building it with a modern tool like Photoshop. In Photoshop it is possible even for the worst photographer to create beautiful pictures, and in fact today there is not even a need for Photoshop anymore. Tools like instagram makes it real easy for everyone to take a picture and process through multiple filters; and in the end make the image much more interesting.
When I cringe of the thought of instagram and hipstermatic I guess it tells that I am some kind of fetishist, because I value the process behind the analog photograph. Thus it is as much a matter of the easiness of these tools that makes it really hard to tell the skilled apart from the less skilled, which I find a pity.
Although analog photography contains some luck, it is not only about finding the right thing to frame. It requires a skill and a craftsmanship that takes time to build up, and I feel that Instagram diminishes this to a triviality.
Another argument was that the analog always holds a reference to nostalgia.
In a way I agree with this statement. But aren’t photographs in general whether digital or analog linked to nostalgia? Isn’t taking a photograph always an attempt to hold on to a moment that already vanished and keep it in ones memory?
Most of the projects I am working on are connected to memory, so in that sense I could justify using the analog as holding on to nostalgia. However the matter of justification seems unimportant, as it is as much about my stubbornness because of my love for the medium.
I guess that it is always important to question oneself and the motives for doing something particular instead of retaining an opinion or method just for the sake of it.