A couple of years ago, three photographers teamed up in Toronto to exhibit conceptual work on what they called "The Death of Photography. " The title of the show certainly got people thinking about what the digital revolution was doing to the elder statesman of photography: It was hammering it to death in a quick, decisive way.
I have witnessed first-hand the changes this revolution has brought about and it has been unsettling. While one would have hoped to have seen both digital and film-based photography co-existing peacefully side by side for at least another 10 years, this has clearly not happened. The mammoth digital sweep has taken over all facets of photography, leaving one to wonder why did film get obliterated as quickly as it did?
It is sad, and I think it is about time people began to speak out about the intrinsic values of film, the beauty of silver prints and the purposes it serves. Once the current media loses its grip on file formats and the next generation of computers demand new readers rendering saved files obsolete, what will happen from a storage standpoint? And how many digital files actually get turned into high quality prints and what is the guarantee for their permanence?
Film has many outstanding and redeeming qualities. The process is more tactile and hands-on, and a well-made silver print will last for generations to come.. as has already been proven. I doubt film will ever again come back to the esteemed position it held in photography for over 125 years. But I do believe there is a place for it here and now and it should be recognised as such before it is too late. This comes from demand, and unless it is created again, I am afraid the next generation of photographers will never know what a beautiful experience working in a darkroom can be.