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The 35 mm film camera or DSLR produces negatives much smaller than those of Adams’ large format camera, and so will not produce images of the same size and detail. As well, large format cameras use a flexible bellows to connect the lens to the camera body that houses the negative; this permits the photographer to adjust the lens plane in ways that give more flexibility over perspective and depth of field in the finished image.

 

In contrast, 35 mm film cameras and DSLRs feature portability, high shutter speed, and an ability to photograph in low light with high ISO speeds. DSLRs also permit photographers to preview their images in the field, and later print only a tiny fraction of the total. Thus, digital photography encourages experimentation, and the capture of chance events by sheer persistence. It is a sort of open-ended science project – your good images will often be mutant freaks, as opposed to the carefully groomed images of Adams. .

 

Put another way, the proper aesthetic for modern photography is rock and roll (before it got fat and lazy), not classical. The epitome of modern photography is the image that is active but time-limited, that pins some event briefly in place, rather than the image that is passive and strives for the eternal. And I also think it is important for photography to have a sense of humour and to deal with the world that people inhabit, meaning the urban landscape as well as the natural one.   

 

All of which stands in opposition to Adams, and his beautiful but sometimes sterile nature images.


RoseTreeSparks
All Images © Tom Onyshko, 2017