Did digital photography killed off the joy of photography?

Often we will hear people making a similar statement. Digital photography is not “pure” photography, it’s killing off the joy of photography, one should shoot film to learn and appreciate photography, digital photography is all about shoot now edit later and so on. To a certain extend, I do agree to this statement, but not in whole. I would put it this way: digital photography is a catalyst to the virus that kills off the joy of photography, but not the culprit itself.

Photography is not just about the shooting process. To me, the whole photography process begins way before the shutter was pressed. The framing, the composition, the subject, the foreground, the background, the exposure and all the thoughts that run through your mind before the shutter was pressed. And it doesn’t stop here. If there’s a specific presentation of the picture in your mind, you will need to go home and work out the final picture by editing it. Dodge and burn, recovering highlight and shadow, cropping, straightening and so on. Last but not least, the picture will then be published on personal website or social media, or printed out in photobook or print.

So, does the whole process sounds familiar to you? Yes it does, doesn’t matter you are shooting film or digital. The process is basically the same. So why such statement has been floating around the photography community then?

To me, the advancement in technologies for photography equipment has nurtured us to take things for granted.
  • One can always burst a few shots and pick the one in focus later on.
  • One can always shoot wide and crop heavily later since sensor are dense with megapixel nowadays.
  • One can always go into auto and just snap away without much thinking needs to be done.
  • One can always rely on image processing software to do wonders to their rather dull raw files.

The list goes on.

Well, I do agree that technology advancement does improve the quality of our output. But the end of the day, it’s all up to us, the one who holds the camera. We always have the choice of whether we want to just shoot for the sake of shooting, or to shoot for the sake of creating something. I was once on the “take for granted” group. As time goes by, I want to be more than that. Today, I’m still trying hard to be better and better, day after day. The whole learning process of making mistakes, learn from it, avoid it, improve it, and finally creating pictures that resonate with my heart. That, to me, is my joy of photography.

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