12 October 2015
I. Inverted Image
II. Original Image
Let me know which you prefer and why. Click onto photograph to enlarge.
When my children were small, I spend hours in my darkroom producing black-and-white prints of their activities and adventures–personalities included. Recently, I was reminded of the steps that were realized to make one print—a print that was brought to life by chemistry, experience, intuition, light and technique. Today many of those early prints remain on the walls of my home. Today this gallery of family is a mixture of analog and digital–a sort of archive of photography’s technology, including my use of the SX-70 Polaroid camera.
The mammoth gap between analog and digital is made even greater if you actually develop film into negatives, use an enlarger to expose them onto photographic paper, and bathe the paper in a chemical solution to produce a positive. Toxic fumes are one of the cautionary tales that come from this process. As important, traditional processing is not forgiving, once you make decisions you must go forward. A second here and there is critical to the result.
Last week’s post showed an image of a dried red zinnia in black and white that was post-processed in FX Photo Studio. My discovery of the app’s feature to invert an image was the moment that those darkroom days returned to the surface of my thoughts.
Digital photography allows us to still the world in seconds and that image appears faster than an instant Polaroid of the 1970s. Oh, and the analog darkroom process can take one-two hours to produce a single print.
My iPhone miraculously does the following in seconds: creates an image that can be seen almost instantly, can be edited and shared in minutes, rises into the iCloud and onto my computer in minutes, and remains available for editing and post-processing at my whim. Really…all these results and not a chemical in sight.
Still, there is much that is missed by these digital advances. When you take a step-by-step act of image-making a whole world of thinking occurs, thought lines blur, ideas burst into being, and creativity is given time to advance. Some would argue that time spent at a computer using Photoshop or Lightroom or other software to post process a photograph takes the place of such darkroom maneuvers. Or the nuances and steps to make a digital print can be laborious too. Others also might argue that editing an image on a Smartphone is comparable.
But to me nothing can compare to the slow appearance of an image in the darkroom tray. That analog process is an art that is lessening its grip on photographers–amateurs and professionals. So when I find an app that allows me to simulate a bygone (for me at least) way to produce my photographs, I celebrate that ingenuity. I do not dwell on the past but embrace the present.
In the Lens section is an example of FX Photo Studio and its feature that inverts the image from a positive to a negative. It also brings sweet memories alive and well, recalling how each image created in the traditional darkroom is a unique, one-of-a-kind photograph. But that conversion also has a subtle connotation, implying loss that is a reality through the technological jump from analog to digital.
Tip of the Week: I like to introduce my readers to art competitions and exhibitions. Some of the reasons include: inform artists who want to submit their work to juried shows, and inform those who want to attend exhibitions to view current and past artists’ work in various media. Visit this website (click here) and on the left side select location for information about deadlines, which start this month. The list includes those who live inside and outside the United States.
View entries to this week’s challenge:
As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.
If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:
1st Monday: Nature.
2nd Monday: Macro.
3rd Monday: Black and White.
4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.