Right. Ok . I admit it. Ever since deciding it was alright to make constant photographic visual references. I have become a complete Instagram addict. Sometimes I feel very, very bad about this and (metaphorically) beat myself about it. In my head it is cheating to snap a quick image and simply apply what I deem to be the most appropriate effect. The effects being usually nostalgic, vintage or cross-processed. In the past we had to toil to achieve these effects, in a darkroom. What massive fun that was, the experimentation, the smells of the chemicals, the burned image, the never quite knowing... Today it is easy... you snap the shutter then decide which type of memory you want to associate with image and apply it in one click. Am I pre-deciding how my memories will look by doing this? Am I somehow cheating myself and faking them? Something inside me thinks this is terrible.... but still I can't stop. Digital photography changes the very nature of how we use photography on a day-to-day social level, thousands of images are taken. The images are no longer precious, they become disposable, but in my case, are never actually disposed of, they clog up my various hardrives 'just in case'. I love the old romantisism of a photograph capturing a moment in time and then looking back at it over the years as a reminder, watching it slowly fade and discolour. Old photographs are special and can never be replaced, they fade in the same way as memories do, possibly even at the same rate (for a while anyway...). It is so different now, but how many digital photos do we actually properly treasure? Is it just a few? Or do we feel safer with lots and lots? A colleague pointed out to me today that just as much work goes into producing an 'effective' image, you still need the skill/vision of actually 'seeing' the image, composing it, but the often the larger amount of time/ experimentation now goes into post-production (the digially altering) whereas with film that 'playing' time went into the developing, and was more physical. Another question... are we losing our grasp on actual materials in this age? Educationally and creatively there is soooooo much value on the exploration of materials and processes (will a graphics tabs ever totally replace the act of getting filthy with paint, charcoal etc) I think there is a place for both in our delightfully creative world today.
I was so insensed with these thoughts today (and by a very 'closed book' negative reaction that I recieved from someone I respected, on the matter) that I spoke with a photoshop expert with a degree in analogue photography who stated 'It's important to know how to manipulate light yourself' 'Digital photographic effects are all derived from analogue photography and unless you have that grounding, that initial understanding you will not be competative with your contemporaries'.
I have an excellent DSLR which I use obsessively because I need to keep up with the sheer pace of life, aside from making visual references, I need to record images quickly and efficiently in my work. But I do often feel these images are somehow less meaningful than the ones I take with film (probably because there I so many of them and probably because for me, involvement with materials is such an important part of my life, my soul). In February I documented London Fashion Week using a variety of cameras including a Box Brownie, I'm still collating some of the outcomes, some I have already published, but it was a fantastic experience and the images I took on film felt so much more definate, permanent... but that still needs lots more mulling over and is probably partly down to me being a romantic, nostalgic old soul deep down...
Here are some examples of the detrius of homeless, indulgant images currently cluttering my desktop.... Visual noise!
But I must love them... Otherwise they would have been deleted definitely!