Sunday, May 17, 2009

Afraid To Title This Post

So this whole Echolilia project has been shot on digital...even an early model mediocre Cannon 5d in the early days. I always regretted the use of the digital but kind of accepted it as part of the process : I wanted my son and I to see the shots we were working on right away and work on them together. We've been trying to shoot together with film now and it has changed the's kind of been a curve ball but in a good way. But the shots we've been doing: creamy and milky with all the wonderfull tones the film provides are more lucious...more sensual, but I don't know if that is really better.
For some reason I got fixated on The Ninth Floor, a photography book by Jessica Dimmock. It chronicles a collection of heroin users she befriended in a building in NYC. I guess I heard that she shot it with a mid level digital camera, but I've tried to find confimation on that and can't. None the less, its all digital grainy static-y pushed to 6400 asa looking digital and its just killer. Ugly tension and hard colors and hard everything and it just fits the feel and scraped raw emotions of the project. It seems like it was, probably by default, the perfect medium for that subject.
Looking at my shots with film...oh, I'm afraid it's looking all sensual and Jock Sturges-esque, Sally Mann-ish, or like some color Keith Carter experiment. Love their work, but not the right feel for this project. It seems like times have moved in a way the film looks...romantic, sensual, luxurious...and digital looks more frantic, stressed out, functional. Anytime I'm shooting film the results are feeling ...nostalgic and friendly. The digital work is colder, more analytical, more about dis-passionate observation. Is this real or just some large collective lie I'm imagining? I dunno...but I feel like the dis-passionate clinical recording quality might be best for this project.


bird. said...

Cameras, films, formats, scanners (eh hem)... they are all just tools. Part of the process. One isn't better than another, necessarily. They all do different things, and if they get the job done, and convey the feeling you're looking for in the end, what's so bad? Michelle Laurita shoots big ass 20x24 polaroids for the tones. (Sidenote, Jim Erickson has turned in 4x5 polaroids to clients as the final shot.. sure, the quality as we know it wasn't there, but it conveyed the feeling, captured the moment-- whatever). The tool didn't hinder the artist in both cases, mind you, and in Michelle's case, well, it's what makes her pictures so damn cool (okay, so she shoots 8x10, too, but that's another story).

I'm not too sure where I'm going with this one (it's late, and this bird has been flapping it's wings in the heat all day), but I will say this: When people look at Echolilia, they aren't going to judge you by the camera you used, or the car you drove to arrive to yesterdays photoshoot. They are going to judge you on what your project says, how it feels, and in the case of the car, well, did you get to the photoshoot? In both cases do you arrive at your destination? Sure. Whether you drove a Caddy or a Pinto doesn't matter... It's whether or not you were able to get to where you were going that's important.

I don't know if any of this was in the least bit relevant to what you posted, but my delirium will lead me to believe that it is, so I shall press "Publish," and go to sleep.


Alisha said...

I don't think it is a large collective you are imagining, though I will say I think that digital can be just as nostalgic and friendly, and film can be just as hectic. it has to do with the process, for me. when it is digital, it is just so easy to push it to those limits, LET it, in a sense, push the envelope and become stressed... whereas film, to make those choices and distinctions, unless you want to do it digitally in post process, you need to decide those things beforehand, what film, what speed, etc etc etc.

maybe it is you and not the tool. are you more careful and subsciously creating pictures you like more when it matters because it is on film? i know i am lots more careful when film is involved.

Zoe said...

I hear you with the different sensations and different ideas brought up with film vs digital. I find when I shoot film it creates a much more 'filmic' quality, as in movie film. Much more so when I shoot on slide, which is great if that's what I'm going for. When I shoot digital it seems to be much more abrubt. It's the same with movies and TV, the work shot on digital has a more in-your-face and immediate feel to it, with different colour and light quality, whereas the work shot on celluloid has more depth and can be more dreamy.

OK, so neither one is better than the other, personally I think they are different mediums and can be treated as such with our work. They bring up different readings from the viewer, so it's an important question you ask.

Whether it is real or some large collective lie, the result is the same. I think you've got the right idea and your final sentence suggests the way forward.

Anonymous said...

really? film can affect quality of light? hmm... not so sure about that one.

Sirfenn said...

I would have to grab onto Bird's shirt tail here as he travels into the dark. The decision is purely subjective. The subject wont know the difference. Does digital compensate for lack of preparation or technical knowledge? Does a lucius negative make up for a poorly lit concept? Do you arm yourself with a shotgun or a rifle? End result if used effectively is the same. I know Timothy is cringing that this post would steer towards technical discussion. So we can just ask if we would have loved the image of Echolilia in the container anymore or less if it involved chemicals?