The analogue photographer vs. the digital photographer

Hatta Dam Sunrise

Sunrise at Hatta Dam….. circa 2011 Fujifilm S5Pro, Sigma 10-20mm, f16, 1/50s, iso 200

This a blog from the past, a blog which I posted at my Multiply site a few years back. I am re-posting it here with little correction because I find it still relevant today.

When I started photography years ago, digital photography was unheard of and film was the medium.  During that time, photography had many limitations.  One is limited to a maximum of 36 exposures or shots at a time. The film then has to be rewound before another roll can be loaded and more shots taken. There where times when in haste, films were not rewound fully and cameras were opened accidentally and thus exposing and ruining the film. Poorly loaded film also does not run and you end up shooting and shooting with the film never running out.

Film rolls also had ASA / ISO sensitivity ratings, light source types (daylight and tungsten) and film type (negative / positive, color / black and white).

Exposed film rolls then had to be developed and printed before you can see the photos you had taken.  If you are not too careful with your shots, you will end up disappointed,  seeing that your photos are not as you expected them to be when you made those shots.

Photographers during that time, faced with such limitations, were more careful and planned every shot.  Every single shot counted and they were very happy when even just three good shots turn up from a 36-exposure roll of film.  Because of these limitations, they knew the basics by heart and were more disciplined as artisans.

The digital photographer of today, armed with the latest digital cameras and photo editing software, do not have all these limitations!  They produce “technically sound” photos most of the time due to their advanced automatic digital cameras.  Anyone, even a seven year old, can come up with a decent photograph these days.  And because of all the technological advancement of modern day cameras, digital photographers tend to take a lot of things about photography for granted.

Some photographers of today call themselves “professional”, when in fact, they are lacking in even the most basic knowledge of photography principles, and the only thing they have is a professional digital camera.

I myself find photography (digital photography) these days, much easier!  I find that the photos I come out with are more like how I visualize them to be.  I have more control over the final image.  Digital photography is empowering for someone like me who started with analogue photography.  On the other hand, it is a disadvantage for anyone going into photography without the proper basic knowledge.  It is thus limiting to ones total growth as a photographer in the truest sense.  There is so much more to know in photography than pointing and shooting.

Although the medium has changed, photography has been essentially the same as it was when it started hundreds of years ago….. the basic principles remains the same.  This might be my “old school” self-speaking, but I honestly believe that unless any aspiring photographer goes through the very basic of photography and develop the proper discipline to be a photographer, he or she will never be one.  And won’t go places with their photography.

Aspiring photographers today should master the basics of photography, know their equipment like the back of their hands and discipline themselves as photographers.


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