Technology kills “old art”


Mary Anne Mitchell

This photograph was created with a polaroid transfer, a method of photography that cannot be created today because the product is no longer made.

Film photography, since the very beginning of its existence, has triumphed within the moment. It captures an image in a matter of seconds, and yet requires focus, a keen eye for composition and above all the willingness to create it.

Film photography, in particular black and white, requires a certain finesse. It takes more than just knowing a camera to create a film photograph.

My mom, Mary Anne Mitchell, is a fine art photographer, and has been working with film since college. Throughout the time she’s been taking photographs, there have been various types of film that have gone out of production due to the switch to digital. “KODAK used to be synonymous to photography,” Mitchell said. “Now it’s bankrupt and it’s going out of business.”

In March there was a photo convention held in Texas called PhotoFest, in her art group, my mom and her art friends discussed the work that was being created by photographers around the world. She was amazed at some of the work she saw. “There were pictures in digital of a trash can’s shadow.” she said, “I just have a hard time understanding that to be considered equal or better to film photography.”

Frankly, I couldn’t agree more. Infrared film and the majority of polaroid films are no longer made because photography in a large portion of society is oriented around digitality. What this means is that there are certain types of art that cannot be created because its industry has gone out of business.

Why, pray tell, should society allow for an art form to be completely erased from production? It is not just, and is hindering the possibilities artist have. For some people, the art form they did the most, like my mom with infrared film, cannot be created any more.

As a society, we should find a way to balance new and old so that the treasures that were once created can continue to flourish. Because we must allow room for new, technological artists while respecting the artists and the techniques that came before it.

No artists should be limited by the materials they cannot acquire.