How the Digital Age destroyed Photographic Creativity

Don’t get me wrong, I love working is PS and have been enjoying learning new tricks in LR.
Also, it’s been over three years since I’ve even picked up any of my trusted film cameras.

Ghosttown - California - Eastern Sierra - museums - seiler house - lace curtains - lensbaby - sweet35 - selective focus - monochrome - Bodie - Bodie State Park
Selective & soft focus through the lens.

My passion for photography actually started in the darkroom and not behind the lens, so I’ve always been enamored by the tricks and techniques for post production.
The ease and speed of being able to burn/dodge, fine tune, stack, create multiple exposures or mask for precise detailed exposure; almost every software now provides these tools for the photographic enthusiast.
When I first started with a digital camera I thought instant preview (so long polaroid backs) and eliminating developing chemicals was the only real advantage over film.
Now so much more data is recorded at the same time & in the same place, it’s incredible. Shutter & f-stop, exposure, copyright info, location, even star tracking.
No more pocket notebook and tear sheets that I would misplace and desperately look for a month later.
The digital age has brought more of photography to the masses than anything since Kodak’s “a camera for every household.”

In the past couple years I have started re-exploring techniques to create and manipulate behind the lens.
I have been working with products like Lensbaby for selective focus, using colored gels on penlights for painting or cellophane & vasoline for soft focus effects.
I spend a lot of time reading forums and reviews by other photographers to get ideas and the “up & downs” of what they’ve tried.
The photographic community worldwide is full of Creatives with ideas, plus most in the community are happy to share.
So many comments of “This is what I found” or “This didn’t work for me” or “Now, I wish I would have tried this.”
It’s so easy to get inspired AND feel you have some direction from the beginning.

Then I’ll see the one comment I hear so often when I’m explaining my photographic process to someoneelse.
“Why would you do that when you can do the exact same thing easier in post.”
One can never do the exact same thing in post.
Rearranging pixels in post will never produce the same image as arranging the pixels through a lens;
anymore than rearranging light through an enlarger will produce the same effect as what is captured on film.

Ghosttown - California - Eastern Sierra - museums - seiler house - lace curtains - cokin - diffuser1 - soft focus - monochrome - Bodie - Bodie State Park
Soft Focus through the lens, normal dodge/burn & tone in post.

More however, it’s the process the Creative has gone through, from conception to print.
A vast combination of ideas, adjusting degrees of light and emphasizing whats visible or what’s not.
It doesn’t matter if the tools are digital, film, or a basic emulsion on a printable surface (or any combination thereof);
it’s these aspects materialized for the viewer that makes a photograph.

Computers have made it extremely easy to synthesize an incredible or beautiful product, and viewers has become accustomed to seeing such.
So accustomed the response is often “why would you do that when you can do it in post?”
Creativity isn’t about ease, it’s about experiencing the process, which might be easy or not (either can be fulfilling.)
The ease of software delivers a great end product; but often robs the viewer from the magical process captured by the Creative.
If the digital age has destroyed anything for creative photography, sadly it’s for the viewer and fortunately not the photographer.

Ghosttown - California - Eastern Sierra - museums - seiler house - lace curtains - lensbaby - sweet35 - selective focus - monochrome - Bodie - Bodie State Park
Ghosttown - California - Eastern Sierra - museums - seiler house - lace curtains - lensbaby - sweet35 - selective focus - monochrome - Bodie - Bodie State Park

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