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“Digital was born for reportage”

Photographers will find Annie Leibovitz’s new book, Annie Leibovitz At Work, quite interesting. In a section titled, “Ten Most-Asked Questions”, question #5 is: “Are you happy with the move from film to digital?” (p. 213). Her answer, in part, is:

“You can photograph the night with digital. Darkness. I use much less light now. Less strobe. You can see more. The downside is the pictures can look a little crude. There’s almost too much information in them. It’s a new language that needs to be translated, and I think that it is only going to improve. Think of early flash photography. Things were lit up in a harsh way in the beginning, and then we learned how to control the lights. Digital produces a look that seems appropriate for this moment in history. It’s distinctive.”

“Digital was born for reportage. It’s terrific for working spontaneously. I can go on the road with less equipment. I’m not carrying bags of film around. And I can shoot at unbelievably high speeds. We used to shoot at the lowest ASA possible, to avoid having grainy pictures. Higher speeds are rendering images much better than they used to.”

2 replies »

  1. I’m actually excited to see what this early digital photography will look like in, say, a century or two. Sure, our digital photos won’t “degrade” like physical film before it, but with advances in technology, I’m sure we’ll continually see improvements with digital photography.

  2. Michael, thanks for your comment! It would be cool to still be around in a century of two. :-) I agree with Annie about the advantages of digital and that it is only going to improve.

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