Analog vs Digital – part two

I have been thinking about the question of the difference between shooting film vs digital for quite awhile now. I’m not talking about the end result of comparing the same photo taken on a film and a digital camera.

I’m also not talking about the actual cost difference between the 2 formats. You can easily find numerous articles online about the technical and cost comparisons.

Rather I am thinking about the actual process that I go through when shooting them. With digital it’s much easier to spend a great deal of time fiddling with the settings and reviewing the results.

At the moment, the majority of my film photography has been with a lomo camera, the LC-A+. There are few choices for settings. In fact the only things that I can choose is the film, the ISO and for focusing there are 4 different ranges.

Film Street Photography
Walking in Chelsea, New York City, December 2019

So it’s really just a matter of lifting the camera to the eye and framing the shot and pressing the shutter. So technically all I have to do is compose and shoot.

Yet for some reason I find that I take more time when shooting with film even though it doesn’t take more time to shoot. The only added step is advancing the film by winding a few turns.


Even though film does cost more, I don’t find it that expensive or cost prohibitive. When I’m shooting digital or film, I tend to be in a zone where I’m not thinking about anything other than the composition.

When I’m working with people on street photography, we start with getting a good exposure so that we can forget about reviewing photos after every shot.

Alas, with film photography you don’t have the advantage or perhaps disadvantage of previewing the shot you just took. It’s possible that the not knowing what you will capture until the film is developed could be an important element in why it takes more time for me to shoot with film.

If so, it is beyond what I am conscious of when shooting. I think that it’s definitely a good exercise as a photographer to shoot both and not feel a necessity to privilege one over the other.

Yes, I’m still working out the differences. Your comments on the subject are always welcome.

On Being Critical

On occasion people ask me to be critical of their photos. While I can and do critique photos from time to time, I prefer to help others develop their own style.

I like to encourage others to find their own style. To give them the courage to do what they think is right. To take photos that they like. After all, you need to be happy with your photography first.

There isn’t necessarily a right or a wrong way to do it. And it’s possible that I am influenced by my own experience of not really fitting in in any of the photography clubs. Typically boys clubs.

As I have said before, steal from the best and make up the rest. Find those elements that speak to your own sense of what looks good. A big part of photography is developing your vision and having your photos match your vision.

Blue in East Harlem, New York City, August 2017

I took this photo during a street photography workshop and I can only tell you that timing was everything! She turned and I clicked. And yes, the focus is a little soft. Whatever. I still like it and some of my favorite photographers have photos with soft focus.

You might not appreciate that. I look at photography as an art and art is always in the eye of the beholder. It is subjective. It is not a science. There isn’t a recipe that will always be successful.

Thoughts on Photography in the Digital Age

What are photos worth now? Do they have more value or less value as a sheer result of the volume? Why take photos at all? These are real questions that deserve real thought even if we are unable to come to some kind of solid answers that we can all agree on.

When I took this photo earlier this year, I was very conscious of the fact that for whatever reason, this building won’t be here forever or at least continue to look like this. Sometimes I wonder if the way that I see things now have more to do with my age or if perhaps we are really in the midst of a major change in the way the world is moving?

I don’t take photos with a thought to if they have a monetary worth or not. I shoot as a form of expression. Photos have a way of sparking memory. We look at photos about the way things used to be. Photos are always past. Are history.

1 Allen Street, New York City, May 2019

I took this photo because the colors and light on that day and at that time appealed to me. For the moment, I like this photo. I have no idea if I will continue to like this photo after shooting another 10,000 photos. Perhaps it’s not that important. Photography is an activity for me. It’s not always obvious why I take a photo or if it will become important to my work.

When we choose to shoot certain subjects, we reveal something of who we are and our tastes in things. And of course, those things are subject to change. How often do we stop and look at a photo and decide what it means to us? We see thousands of images everyday. Most of them are not by choice.

Your assignment if you choose to take it, is to stop and take a look at a photo and think about what it means to you. Let’s call it intentional viewing. Happy looking and getting lost in photos.

It’s Everywhere You Go!

Photography in its broadest definition has become important to everyone! It is such a dominant part of our culture and our lives. Creating and consuming images is constant. So how do we differentiate between the different kinds of photography? Are they all equal? Do we even understand the effect that images have on us? Visual literacy is a tricky subject. Especially when there’s barely enough time to understand it all.

I work as a tour guide. On a regular basis I come into contact with tourists taking selfies with major attractions in New York City. It would be difficult to not witness this everywhere in the city. I wonder what the actual value is of these photos? (I will refrain from being judgmental here even if it is annoying.) They are intended as souvenirs.

One Grand Central, New York City, January 2019

The idea that you can choose to remember something by an image or an object. The strange thing is that souvenirs actually have a way of killing memories. They take on new meaning. We no longer have to remember it.

Perhaps the actual act of taking a photo is more important than the photo itself. That and the fleeting moment that it has a life on social media. We designate a moment which we have predetermined to be worthy of remembering. We have scripted our lives in doing this.

Planned vs unplanned photos. My favorite photos that I’ve taken are not planned. They couldn’t have been planned. They are decided only at the moment that they are shot. Sometimes I like them. Others I don’t. It’s always starting from scratch. Starting over with a clean slate.

When it comes to street photography you can’t decide beforehand what you’ll shoot. It’s life in motion. By it’s very nature it is unplanned.

Photography is – Part Eleven

The action doesn’t stop, but a photo desires to freeze time in a way that it can be remembered. If we didn’t pause to look and shoot, life would still move on. A photograph exists as a memory of a time that no longer exists. My photos are a record that I was here. It is what I do with my time.

LES Street
LES Morning, New York City, December 2019

Photography is – Part Ten

Photography is a facsimile. It is a miniature view of a much larger picture. Even a 360 degree photos misses more than it captures. It represents the fleeting moments in life.

The Great Believers, New York City, December 2019

Photography is – Part Nine

Truth resides in photography only as much as the person who took it believed it was worth shooting it. Truth in photography exists when the viewer can relate to the image that is represented in a photo.

Love + Be Loved, New York City, May 2019