Some still say, “Digital isn’t real photography!”

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Digital versus film is still being debated by a few people.

Digital versus film is still being debated by a few people.

The medium of photography has become very accessible for everyone.  There was a time when photographers had to be an engineer, a chemist, and to be successful, serious practitioners needed to spend time educating themselves. Photographers actually had to understand the combinations of shutter and aperture for a properly exposed image, and worried about camera shake and film choice.

With modern technology, today’s supercharged cameras with their machine-gun-like shutters, and seemingly speed of light focusing, many photographers are able to make great photos without any knowledge whatsoever of photography.

This week I talked to a woman that pulled her 1980’s film camera out of a well-worn canvas bag saying, “Digital isn’t real photography!”  (I remember writing about another person upset with digital almost exactly a year ago.)

I let her rant for a while about how inferior digital is, and how one can’t get a good picture unless they used film. However, because I wasn’t in a mood to get into an argument I knew I wouldn’t win, I just nodded and said that I do like the tactile quality one can get with a properly printed picture. And to smooth things out I mentioned that I have several enlargements hanging on the wall in my shop that I took with film.

That conversation is becoming rather infrequent these days, but it still is kind of humorous when someone wants to complain about modern photographers and the high tech equipment available. Unfortunately, the argument is one-sided and not really worth getting into because any opinion but theirs is going to be ignored.

There are still a few people intent on complaining that with the end of film comes the end of photography.  That’s just silly. Personally, I don’t think film is going away any time soon. Film is just one of many ways to make a photograph.

The big box outlets here in Canada may not carry it much longer, but there are lots of specialty items artists use that are only available in specialty stores, and I think there are still plenty of camera shops that handle film. And going to a store that specializes in photography makes the chances of getting the correct advice from the person behind the counter more likely.

It seems like everyone is taking pictures nowadays. (Another thing that lady complained about)  But I think that’s a good thing and not something to complain about.

There are lots of excellent photographs being taken. People just want visual memories and the multitude of cameras that are available these days are perfect for that. Who cares what kind of camera or how the image is captured.

I think I might stop by and talk to that woman again. She has a small store down the street from mine. My conversation won’t really be to talk her out of film and into digital. She hasn’t used her camera in a while and I’d like her to start taking pictures again instead of complaining about young people with their digital cameras.

I hope she will start having fun with that old 35mm film camera. It doesn’t matter what camera she uses, film or digital, as long as she is happy with the photographs she makes.  I’ll be sure to help her out, and with a bit of subversive work, I might get her using a digital camera after all.

These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or Stop by Enman’s Camera at 423 Tranquille Road in Kamloops.

I sell an interesting selection of used photographic equipment. Call me at 250-371-3069.