Imperfect and Beautiful

When I pulled out this old photograph of my mom and grandpa, I realized something.  Even though I'm obsessed with proper color, contrast and composition, I didn't care about any of that.  I did, however, wonder who was behind the camera (I assume my grandma), what they were talking about on that cold night, and what the heck my mom was drinking.  The fact that this image is dark, blue, and underexposed didn't cross my mind.  Well obviously it did, but only to prove my point.  This image was taken with film, and I couldn't love the nostalgic feel of it more.  Plus, I really miss my grandpa.  It's funny how one image can take me back to so many memories of our family reunions on Whidbey Island, where this was taken.  In the future when we look back on our over-edited, over-saturated, over-enhanced digital images, will we feel the same?I absolutely love digital photography in my portrait career.  I can click the shutter as many times as I want without feeling guilty about the cost.  I experiment more with digital and I'm always confident that I got the shot.  We also live in an instant gratification age and I'm not sure my clients could handle the wait that film would bring.  However, I miss the simple life as a film photographer.  The anticipation of the developing and printing process was exciting.  Will my images turn out?  Did I have the right film ISO in the camera?  Are my images in focus?  Typically my film photography was quite a bit more imperfect.  But I would argue that the images were more realistic than what we capture with digital.  The post editing process leaves too much interpretation of reality in the mix.  Say, in Photoshop, you accidentally add too much contrast to your image, making the original RAW now look flat.  Then you start to question how far you should go with the contrast.  After all, the image is way more eye-grabbing with the added effects.  I think this way of thinking in photography is eventually going to dilute the beauty we actually live and breath in. My friend Kirk Mastin says that there is a place for both digital and film.  I agree.  Digital art can be just amazing and surreal in a good way.  However, I've started shooting film a lot more and it's been therapeutic.  And since I want my photography to always hold historical significance, I'm making the decision to keep my art simple and appreciate the way things actually are, imperfect and beautiful.