Thursday, March 1, 2007
B&W In The Digital Age
Talented artists are always eager to embrace new technology if it has the potential to enrich their art and bring forth their vision. If he had access to today's tools, what would Ansel Adams do?
More than 20 years since his passing, Ansel Adams is probably still the most widely known black-and-white outdoor photographer. He didn’t shoot digitally because digital imaging as we know it didn’t exist in those days. But I think the legendary black-and-white master would be quite interested in digital imaging were he in his shooting prime today. Adams was all for any technology that could increase his control over the image-making process, and digital imaging certainly does that. With film, Adams could adjust the exposure in camera to control the dark areas of the image, adjust development to control the light areas, and then control the lightness or darkness of the overall print via the enlarger exposure, control overall contrast by choosing the printing paper grade, and dodge and burn to make local areas of the print brighter or darker. He couldn’t watch the film develop, he had to watch the print develop by the light of a dim safelight, and he had to wait for the print to wash and dry before he could see what he had.
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