This is the kind of pixel abusion the words “digital darkroom” came to conjure during the great digital conversion of aught one. It may be damn pretty but where is it still more a manifestation of photographic prowess and where is it more graphic design? Does it even matter anymore? Did it ever? I was certainly hypnotized into believing it did for many years and, still, at times get a little hobbled by the hang ups introduced by fear and elitism. Shame really. At least this image’s 1000 words do more than this post’s wimpy 94 (109).
P.S. The original was shot in 2008 on an Olympus SP350. It remained unprocessed until February 2017.
I recently made reference to the “Digital Darkroom.” One of those weird, never really caught on, 1990s buzz words for Marvels of the Future that echoed early century world’s fairs. Spectral cyber Edwardians aside I started from the pre-digital photography era. Mind, I am not claiming pixel based ignorance. I embraced digital quickly out of an inherent need to be able to bring my thoughts to reality, but I also come from a practical background.
I shot tons of film as a child on a Fisher-Price camera with rubberized corners that shot on those funky reel to reel-esque canisters and accepted an even stranger flash cube. So when photography was an offered course in high school I jumped on it. My school allowed us the use of old Pentax cameras with stock objectives (did something just stir in the recesses?), as much stock as we could afford, run of the campus, and the use of the darkroom to duplicate and process. As a result of taking that class I can easily make this:
Sometime after high school I got hired as a cashier at a chain that also had a 1-hour photo service. While working there I spent a large amount of time on an AGFA developer/printer that had a range of fine tuning options a photo technician could use to render exceptionally better prints. If you have ever used a 1-hour photo service you know probably how many times those fine tuning options have been used. For ease:
The bottom right half represents, generally, what my cameras output. Whether film or digital. The upper left shows what just a tiny bit of adjustment can help them be.
At the same time I was taking photography in high school. I was also taking a number of graphic design classes next door. These focused more on digital voodoo. A telling sentiment. Over the years, digital interference in the creative process has come to be accepted as not just one of many tools but, for many, the one stop shop to grant every last wish from your imagination’s desire.
After all of these years of shooting and sheepishly adventuring in RAW space. I only just realized that the digital darkroom enveloped my workflow a long time ago and that it was ever a place to fear or revile. More than that, armed with this knowledge a long held prejudice has broke down and that just makes me all the more versatile… and who is not enchanted by versatility?
All photos are derived from the same RAW photo and processed digitally.
When the weather forces your hand and you shoot a California that seems too foreign to convention. Here I may have gone a bit mad in the digital darkroom, but how else am I going to find a cozy nook in it?
I found myself emboldened by my ~10 year old photos that had passed muster over in Oxford and did a dip in the archives. I came across a few pomegranate studies I had shot in 2005 on my first Olympus Digital Camera, C350Z. I think they are great shots but as nice as they may be the images just can not really compete in the modern era. Eerie in their dignified obsolescence.
Pomegranite growing. Pleasently so.
Pomegranite growing. Pleasently so.
I create more stuff than just for the shilling (Never mind the “Penny Squats” that have given me totally BLASTED calves) and here are two more rest stops on the information super highway.
Taking photos you find interesting. My whole life has seen examples of me photographing the world. Funny enough, I appear very little in recorded history. Maybe most people that prefer the safety of the creative process from behind the scenes feel similarly.
What ever the case this post announces a sort of “wonder of wonders” moment I experienced when I got the email from Alamy accepting 14 photos I took back in 2006. The photos were originally shot in a attempt to get accepted by ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. Sadly, after I shot the photos in question I got home from work and checked my email at which time I got the angry version of the rejection email. Although this did not stop me from shooting it did keep me from entertaining publishing my material in any format.
So, jump forward to today and the acceptance email I received for 13 nifty Orb Weaver Spider photos and a single of a Honey Bee corpse. On a stock Olympus SP350 all the way back in 2006 and probably using the Macro and/or “Super Macro” software in camera. I wish I had more faith in my abilities back then and willing to nurture a tiny bit of ego to push myself.
Food for thought: I may have become a contributing photographer with The Suicide Girls back then. One model I shot was accepted, after all.
It happened.Today (2/13) was the day that a team of total strangers looked at a set of sample photographs and gave me one of the greatest implied thumbs-up. My images passed a minimum standard to be fit for public sale.