I agree with what Patty has said about the digital vs chemical (below)
I did a lesson with my students where they had to tone a picture using
both chemical toner and scanning the picture to tone it digitally. We
had a critique and they wrote a statement comparing and contrasting
the two processes.
I was very surprised that most of the students prefered the chemical
process. They felt they had more control over the process and liked the
hands-on aspect of it.
I am reluctant to give up the chemical. I've talked to the kids and
love the darkroom. It's an experience like none other. It's a
thing that the computer can't offer.
They love and hate the smell; they love and hate getting their fingers
it---- they love the connection the computer can not offer.
I think the difference is that the computer gives results without the
feeling of having a "hand" in it. The chemical is magical: the digital
become a matter of fact.
If we are going to uphold that it is important to maintain traditional
skills to train artists, then I think that is important in photo as
Software like PhotoShop offer the techniques of basic darkroom
burning, dodging, contrast control, masking... If you know it in the
darkroom first, it makes the electronic manipulation all the more
I'm not sure at what point we give up the 'old' and totally embrace
new... certainly it should not be for budgetary concerns.
What I love about the darkroom is that the kids are so taken with the
magic-- so proud of the skill---- and what I love about the darkroom is
I see kids truly working and interacting together, helping each other
what I see as a true group activity. All I see in the computer lab is
struggling with a machine--- they don't smell it or feel it they
produce and too often that production is
"noise" made by hitting arbitrary buttons without knowing just what
decisions were made. That may be legitimate- but ask a photo student
filter is and ask some kid just hitting buttons what a filter is -
determine what the learning is.
I wonder sometimes why programs are considering going totally digital
music programs doing the same? Certainly music can be produced without
traditional instruments but are we eliminating instrument