This is a photograph of a dancer I took during a production of The Shed in Red Hook back in 2007. Truly a great example of modern dance in Brooklyn. I don’t usually post images that are already in one of my online galleries; this one is in the Film | Dance gallery here. However, I was testing a new Word Press plug-in, and needed an image to test with and this one popped up in a search. I looked at it anew and am still absolutely blown away by the tonality.
This was shot with a Leica M6 and a 50mm Summicron on Neopan 1600 processed with Ilford ILFOTEC DD-X. Is it the lens? The film? The chemicals? All of the above? I definitely could shoot a similar shot with my Canon 5D Mark II and 50mm/1.2 L lens. And then print it out with Bowhaus’ True Black and White Software on my Canon 6300.
But would it look the same? I’m beyond the film vs. digital war that thankfully doesn’t flare up like it once did. They are different processes, simple as that. They should be thought of as different forms of photography. Neither is inherently better; each is better for some things.
But there is a little voice that always pops into my head that wonders why so much time and effort has been expended to make digital look like film? More importantly, should I start shooting film again… in case it is going to completely disappear.
Interestingly enough, I once dated a long-time photo editor and showed her my folio of hand-waxed inkjet prints. She said “Oh! Fibre prints, beautiful!” I had to convince her they were inkjet prints.
I think I’m going to stick with digital for the time being and then venture off into alternative processes like wet plate collodion. Speaking of collodion, there is a great group on Facebook dedicated to the process: Collodion Bastards: Wet Plate Work of Questionable Parentage. A great bunch of people, a great collection of images and information, and a great name.
There is still something special about having silver in an image. Something digital can’t and shouldn’t try to replicate.