That is what I've been told several times when I say I've sold my darkroom equipment. I take a deep breath and answer, "Easier? No not easier. Just different." There is nothing easier about producing a fine art print via digital methods. But I'm not the only one who has had this experience.
My friend Eleanor Brown, who is one of the most creative, hard working photographers I know has heard it too and she finally wrote a commentary on her website about the misunderstanding people seem to have that you can just click a button or mouse and out comes a fine art print. With her permission, here is what she had to say.
Digital, Image Making and Printing....”It ain't just pushin' a button"
by Eleanor Brown
First I’d like to clarify that I’ve printed both black and white and color in my darkroom for many years and loved working in the dark…even the smell of the chemicals. However six years ago I converted completely to digital shooting and printing. In my experience I’ve found that there seems to be some misconceptions about those of us who do digital photography, or more specifically those of us who do Digital Fine Art image making and printing. I’ve heard the phrase all too many times, “oh you just push a button…right”…or maybe “click your mouse and viola! A print! Quick and easy, I mean after all, it’s digital, right?…..Wrong!
With the proliferation of hundreds of digicams and new “photo printers” popping up seemingly every week, seems everyone is getting into the act and it needs to be said that a some of those folks are making good prints.
But for those photographers/artists whose image making is a Passion, a way of life, its not “just pushin’ a button”. We spend countless hours traveling and “in the field”, many times in “challenging” conditions and situations “to get the shot”. Equipment is chosen carefully with image quality in mind.
Printing…well that’s another story. For those of us who demand the highest print quality, it’s not “just pushin’ a button”, or “clickin’ a mouse”. We spend countless hours at the computer fine tuning and editing each image file in Photoshop, then more time (not to mention materials) is spent printing test prints and proofing. In a nutshell, we spend time and money (lots of it) to “get it right”. In some cases, after many hours spent “getting it right”, decide it’s not good enough and trash the file.
We need fast computers, top-notch professional printers with archival pigment inks, and the software to drive those printers. We use the best image editing software and use the finest archival heavyweight rag and fiber based fine art printing materials.
So please…. next time you think digital image making is “just pushin’ a button”….well think again …and thanks! :-)