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Matinee: 'From Darkroom to Daylight' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

24 September 2022

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 467th in our series of Saturday matinees today: From Darkroom to Daylight.

This 4:37 production from Sara Alexander and edited by Ed Carson is a series of brief appearances by well-known photographers who describe their attachment to film or digital photography.

It starts with Richard Sandler extolling the beauties of grain. Then Sally Mann talks about "the physicality of the silver print." She's followed by Ruud Van Empel who reveals the possibilities of digital editing made it impossible for him to sleep anymore. Stephen Wilkes agrees, amazed that anything you can imagine, you can create digitally.

Eric Taubman says we're at the end of film photography with maybe 10 or 20 years left. Richard Benson sees no future in film for himself although he's sure people will still want to use it.

Alex Webb says it's been a painful process for him transitioning to digital. Taryn Simon thinks the beauty of film dissipates in the digital realm.

As each photographer speaks, we see them in their studio and a few of their prints flash on the screen. It's quite an anthology of photographers.

Then we go back to Sandler who insists digital data has no depth whereas a negative has "thickness." But Wilkes argues that's missing the point -- and the new heights in image quality that digital provides.

Conservator Paul Messier isn't upset at all that we're at the end of an era, meaning film. Now we're in a "really exciting period to care about photography," he adds. "We haven't had a transition like this in the history of photography," he notes.

There's certainly some truth in that.

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