Keith Eastwell Fine Art Photography

To Update or not Update, if only it were that simple...Page 2: 23.12.2014

Blog > To Update or not Update, if only it were that simple...Page 2: 23.12.2014
23/12/2014 - 21:47


To update or not update and am I wagging my own tail or is someone wagging it for me?


Many of the advantages with the introduction of digital photography have been far from subtle. We are consumers in commercial world and if there is one constant, it is the ability of money and a commercial mind-set to herald major change to anything established.

Digital photography is future technology available in the present and its ability to produce well-exposed, sharp, together with impossible resolution even at 25,000 ISO never ceases to amaze me. It has one other, very unsubtle advantage. The gratification aspect of the technology is instant, you click, you preview. An added advantage is every time you press the shutter release, it’s free. To capture an image and view it on a screen is simple and cheap. If that is your only intention, then once the hurdle of the initial purchase has been completed, there is no further outlay. Until the camera hardware itself fails you could click away capturing images for a lifetime.


With the introduction of compact 35mm cameras in the 1930’s, save for the introduction of the SLR, the auto return mirror, semi then auto exposure and finally auto focus, there were few major changes to analogue photography, until the advent of digital cameras in the mid to late 90’s. Sixty years is pretty much a lifetime and for anyone who used transparency, with the introduction of Kodachrome in 1935, you could have been using albeit faster ISO, Kodachrome in 2009 when it was finally discontinued. Developing and printing costs hammered the commercial nail in the coffin of analogue photography. Very quickly as the megapixel count grew, so the need for a commercial business to spend 50,000 dollars or pounds a year on film emulsion was kind of a no brainer when it came to eventually going digital. No developing and printing costs were embraced by anyone with a camera but was it not only Kodak that eventually lost out? We don’t buy film anymore but nothings free, especially when we have to continuously update.


For a modern commercial photographic business, or any enterprise that uses images, photography never gets to the photograph. They are images on a screen that may only ever be viewed on a screen or printed in book form; there are no photographs, no prints. A wedding photographer today for a fixed fee, will take hundreds of pictures of the big day and upload them to his or her website for the bride, groom and guests to download. The wedding album for many is a past and outdated concept; what could be more convenient then thumbing through the images on his and hers iPhones?


I take photographs and I make photographs, to keep them as a digital file on a computer and only viewing them on screen is to me, meaningless. I don’t think you can better a well printed colour or monochrome print, that is finished, mounted and hung on a wall. Today I do that digitally, but it’s a long way from costing nothing. I did a bit of calculation and it struck me that the cost of a modern digital inkjet A4 colour print, is not far away from the cost of an analogue, chemical print twenty-five years ago.


I'm not finished yet, there's at least one more...


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