Should We Drop “Digital” from Digital Photography? by Fred Bonilla

One of our readers, Fred Bonilla, feels that we should examine the new semantics. What do you think?

Anyone who took part in PhotoPlus in New York last month is surely aware of Chase Jarvis (He gave the keynote address at The Javits Center on The New Creativity and the Social Art of Photography) . In fact, most everyone in the photographic community is aware of his work, his considerable talent and most everything he does. (I personally dig his book consisting of photos only taken with his I-Phone). So, his opinions are highly regarded, with loads of buzz whenever he posts something on his blog or Twitter.(You can hear the tweets if you listen very carefully…) His latest post today gave me pause, for while it was simple in nature, it also was profound in it’s proposal.

His blog post (in it’s entirety) is as follows:

“I heard it again yesterday for the billionth time: “Digital Photography”. Isn’t
it time we drop the word ‘digital’?
Seems we’ve managed to drop the “electric” from “electric guitar” in common parlance.
We found it easy to drop the word “acrylic” from “acrylic painting” when that
came on the scene with oils.
We quickly ditched the “digital” from “digital music” when it took the lead over records and tapes and CDs.
I suppose by-and-large our industry has dropped the word, but given that digital and analog photography are fundamentally the same thing, isn’t it time we implore the rest of the world to assimilate the term “digital photography” back into “photography” as a whole?”

Hmmmm. Reading it over a few times over, here’s my two cents worth…Yes, an f-stop is an f-stop in both analog & digital photography, An ISO Setting as well as other principles apply to both mediums as well. Perhaps the assumption that analog (film) photography is essentially dead allows for the term “photography” to be interpreted to be all encompassing, especially from a person who produced a fine art book with a phone! But can we broadly assume that analog photography is dead, no longer a reference point when we speak about “photography”? Robert Benson, a photographer from San Diego wrote a great blog piece on “The Holdouts-Shooters Who Still Use Film” who highlights prominent photographers like Brian Finke, whose work I wrote about in a previous Photoinduced blog post in 2008. Anyone who thinks film is dead obviously hasn’t bumped into a devotee of plastic cameras like the Holga/ Diana or a Lomomaniac.Even an interview with Kodak’s marketing manager of pro film Scott DiSabato in The British Journal of Photography says that current sales of color film are steady, and that sales of black and white film is“doing extremely well.” He sees it as a mini-revolution, adding that “it almost feels that there is a very real resurgence for film.” I guess that while there are folks that still make a case for the distinctiveness of shooting in an analog matter and it’s results, the term “digital photography” may have to stick around a while longer…

What to make of this, guys? Is Chase right, or is the term still relevant? Love to know what folks think in PhotoInduced Land!

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