Here’s a newsflash. If you look at my galleries and read my weekly entries you will notice that I’m a black and white film photographer who makes silver gelatin prints in my darkroom. I have done this almost 50 years. I have only exposed a handful of roles of color film and have never made a digital photograph for personal work. I have taken digital photos for eBay and the like, but that’s it. I’ll submit that doesn’t count. I continue to do what I do for the many reasons I have stated here before and don’t have any plans to change my way of doing things. There is something very pure, authentic, and tactilely and visually rich … to me … about black and white photographs printed on silver gelatin paper.
That’s just how I feel, but I would certainly switch to color and digital capture if I felt that this would provide an ability for me to express myself better and provide greater joy in creating the finished product. That won’t happen so I will continue on as I have.
Interestingly enough … at least to me … I only listen to vinyl LPs. And I listen to them using tube electronics. Yes, my preamp and monoblock amplifiers (one amplifier for each channel) use vintage tubes instead of solid-state transistors. I have done this for almost 50 years. I once purchased an expensive CD player that even incorporated a tube circuit, but after one week of listening I returned it to the dealer. I listen to CDs in my car, but that’s it. I’ll submit that doesn’t count. I continue to do what I do for reasons similar to why I use black and white film and make my own prints in my darkroom, and don’t have any plans to change my way of doing things. There is something very pure, authentic, and tactilely and sonically rich … to me … about listening to vinyl and the entire vinyl experience (the record itself, the cover, album jacket and other materials that often accompany the record), especially when played through a tube-based system.
That’s just how I feel, and I would certainly switch to transistors and digital listening if I felt that this would provide an ability for me to have a more tonally rich and engrossing listening experience. That won’t happen so I will continue on as I have.
So what’s going on here? Am I an analog Luddite? I really don’t think so. I do use an iPhone and a laptop after all.
Actually, new is not always better than old … even though the marketing types want us to think so. You often hear commercials for products saying, “it’s new”. When you get to the store it’s the same thing written on the box. The idea is if you need to make a selection you will be swayed by the message of being new. It must work or they wouldn’t do it. Fact is new often doesn’t taste better or work better. Often it’s cheaper made, or has fewer contents for the same price or more.
In the case of digital image capture and digital sound, new technologies have emerged thanks to microelectronics. In most cases the microelectronics revolution has provided great advancements and I would be a fool to think otherwise. It’s just not for everything. Maybe easier, with more features, but not always better, especially when it comes down to what really is emotionally important in art and listening pleasure. Not as a replacement for black and white film and silver prints, and not as a replacement for vinyl played through tube gear … at least not for me.