What is analog Photography?

Photographs or darkroomprints on the floor with different cameras in the background. Kiev 88, canon eos 1n and kodak folding brownie 3a

A simple Question jet difficult to answer by focussing on the technical definition of analog photography only. In order to understand the differnces between digital and analog we have do submerge further in the philosophical concept behind the use of film in modern fine art photography.

Even tough there are more people photographing nowadays than ever before we seem to have lost our connection to photography. The already uncomplicated and mechanical process of exposing and developing film has been reduced to a even simpler electronical process which anybody can participate in.

Therefore it is stunning to experience that more and more photographers nowadays choose analog film photography as their medium and restrict themselves from any photographic shortcut. Alternative techniques like wet plate collodion, canyotypie, daguerotypie, oilprinting or other traditional print out processes (POP) are still maticulously practiced by a large community of photographers all around the world.

I personaly never lost the conection to the rolls of film as I grew up in the 80s and 90s when film was photographers choice number one and only. My first photographic experiences were made on Film. Later, as I begun to take black and white photography more serious I stuck with b/w film and never looked back. The rising digital photography didn’t struck my interest at all. On the other hand it opened new doors for amateur analog photographers like me. Professional equipment was suddenly affordable as many photographers had to change to digital cameras back in the day.

To awnswer the initial question we have to understand that the therm analog photography was not needed prior to the invention of it’s digital counterpart.

By plain definition photography uses a light sensitive, physical recording medium ( photographic medium) in order to capture light with silver particles and create a photograph.

… to create a photograph and not an Injectprint.

Consequently the therm digital photography is contradictonary. If there is no photo than there can be only a image. The question weather analog or digital is superior becomes redundant. There is only one photography and then there is a copy of it. Even being a awesome copy that may outplay it’s ancestry in many points, digital photography is behind in many others.

When photographing on film we produce a photo every time we hit the shutter. In order to do so you can choose any analog photographic process and you will always produce photographs in form of negative or positive images. Its not only the outcome that counts but more the whole performance becomes part of the Photograph. The Papers, Chemicals and Films we use and the way we manipulate them can be mimict by digital software. The performance itselve can’t be imitated.

In my opinion the technical definition doesn’t provide us with the deeper understanding behind the performance of “taking a potograph” and the value of real Photographs. The irreversible choises and their impact made in the process form the endresult by their conclusiveness. There is no looking back. The struggle and the degre of comfort and knowledge needed to achive the desired negatives, the satisfaction when all parts come together for a perfect interpretation in form of the handmade darkroomprint. It is your individual decision wheather its worth the effort or if it’s just another overrated vintage trend from the past.

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