The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Friday, February 1, 2008

Would Ansel Adams Go Digital?

As I am reading the first of the three books that I ordered from the Lenswork site – something interesting has crossed my mind.  I have thought about this before but one of the stories from Brooks Jensen jogged my memory again.  He was writing about Ansel Adams and the time that he actually met Ansel at the Weston Gallery in Carmel.


It reminded me of my mental discussion I had with myself once of whether I thought Ansel Adams would be heavy into digital and Photoshop or would he be a hold out and still work with film and in a dark room?  Now please tell me that I am not the only one who has these mental discussions (not out loud) with myself.  I just wonder about something and think about it.  I keep some of those to myself because, frankly, at home no one else would be interested in the discussion.  If I were to ask a similar "what if" kind of question around here – it would get the attention of my husband if it went something like, "If Bobby Jones was alive, what kind of clubs would he use?"


But what would Ansel do?


At first I thought he would not want to leave film and the dark room behind.  He would wonder how could a digital camera and a computer actually compete with his darkroom skills.  But I have thought about it more and come to think that he would go digital – at least by now, maybe not in the early stages.  I know there have been some holdouts on giving up the film.  But once you do – you are just amazed at the instantaneousness of digital imaging.    


I think Ansel Adams would have been drawn to it because of the instant feedback on an image.  I also think that due to his skill in the darkroom – he may have even worked with someone to develop a remarkable photo-editing program geared to the black and white photographer.  Maybe he would not want to give up the large-format camera – maybe not just yet.  But you know what – I'll bet he would fiddle with the photos on a computer rather than using a darkroom.  Can't you just see him now – sitting there in front of a very large, very expensive monitor?   I have read that he would enlarge an image – post it to the wall and over a period of days, weeks, whatever he would make no tations on the print for more dodging and burning for the next print of the same image.


Yes – I think he would be digital – and maybe still some film – but I'll bet anything that he would computer edit.  I also think he would have one, extra-large printer!


And about that Brooks Jensen book – right now I am reading Letting Go of the Camera.  I really like it.  After listening to so many of Brooks' podcasts – I can hear the book as a podcast in my head.  These little snippets are the podcasts – or just like them.  So far I have not read something that I have already listened to on the iPod.  I have something else I want to read on Elements – but I am holding off and planning to finish the "Lenswork Three" first.  It is double hard since I brought home the new John Grisham book today.  I have not read his last few – I feel that after the fi rst group of really good books that he kind of lost his mojo.  I have also heard that with this newest one – he kind of gets it back.  I hope so.  I went through the lost the mojo thing with Patricia Cornwell – I used to love her books – but not the next to last one – and I skipped the latest because of that.


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