A Photo Teacher |

Does It Really Matter ?

Posted in PHOT 156 by Paul Turounet on August 26, 2009



What is particularly interesting about photography and probably why we are so attracted and mesmerized by it, besides how it can seamlessly re-present a “reality” we can attempt to relive as a memory, is that photography has and continues to evolve and transform itself from its inception to today.  The possibilities of image-making continue to be endless as photography has gone from “drawing with light” with the earliest photographic images of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and William Henry Fox Talbot to the advent of flexible film, which transformed photography and made it possible for the masses to participate in.  As flexible film and the subequent cameras that were developed continued to evolve and be refined, photography became more than just an artistic medium and practice, but rather gained significance as a social and cultural phenomenon.  How often have we seen news reports of a natural disaster has taken place, such as tornado, hurricane or in our case here in Southern California with fires, and the reporter is interviewing someone about how they are just relieved that their family members, pets, and family photos were not lost.  It is these photographs that connect us to our past and define our existence.




And now photography is experiencing another significant transformation with the advent of the first digital camera in 1975 (left), the continued development and shrinking of the digital camera sensor and the global use digital photography as a social and cultural practice.  Now we have lens-based devices, such a cell phones, which can capture a moment and be shared with someone in another part of the world within seconds.


All of this innovation and transformation has done a couple of things:

Everyone “seems” to be a photographer and take photographs.  As of today, there are over 4 billion (4,000,000,000) photographs on Flickr alone.


The endless debate of analog photography vs. digital photography.

One of the most vocal in this debate on the role and function of digital technology and photography is the photographer Pedro MeyerSince the advent of digital photography, Meyer has been a leading voice, advocate and practitioner in the transition from the world of the darkroom and analog photography to the possibilities of digital photography, the computer and the Internet.


Of particular interest in this discussion are his series of editorials found on the website ZoneZero, specifically the following essays:

Editorial 29 – Traditional Photography vs. Digital Photography

Editorial 30 – Hasta Luego Darkroom


After reading the assigned editorials (Editorial 29 and 30) by Pedro Meyer, please consider and respond to the following:

What was your earliest introduction to photography – traditional (analog) cameras film and the darkroom, and/or digital photography including either a digital camera or cell phone camera?

What are your thoughts on this seemingly endless debate about traditional photography and digital photography?  Should it matter?  Does it really matter?  Why or why not?

How do you envision your photography developing in time?  Do you see yourself working exclusively with traditional cameras and techniques, digital photographic tools techniques or a combination of both and why?



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