I mentioned a couple of days ago that I took a class on developing and printing film — an exploration of true analog photography. It was a time-consuming tactile process, and to a photographer of the digital age, the use of chemical potions seems akin to alchemy. A magic transformation of a blank sheet of paper into a photographic print.
The instructor was nice enough to make a second print for me, this time on a fiber based 11×14 inch Ilford paper. The print and paper quality was shockingly better than one printed on standard 8×10 resin (plastic) coated paper. I was barely able to scan it on my flatbed, just cutting off the telltale black borders of an authentic print.
What did I learn from this introductory course? The art and craft of traditional print making would take a while to master. But the output of a print on fine quality paper is enticing. I’ve made high quality Inkjet prints on pricy Hahnemuhle FineArt papers and even framed them, but they don’t look quite the same as a silver gelatin black and white print.
Comparing this traditional process of shooting, developing and printing photographs stands in stark contrast to the technology I talked about yesterday. The power of a pocket picture-taking computer, endowed with artificial intelligence and connected to the world. They are both amazing in their own way and couldn’t be more different from each other.
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