On Photography, Change, and Derangement

Living the transition from film to digital

Bill Crandall
Counter Arts

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One of the first photos I took that I thought was pretty good, made with the Canon AE-1 my father gave me. [All photos © Bill Crandall unless marked]

I’ve been doing photography seriously and/or professionally (sometimes both at the same time!) for about 30 years, and teaching it for the last 15. During that time, what doing photography means has changed pretty drastically — from needing to do twenty things right even to make a bad photo, to pressing one button to take the picture and another to post it for all to see.

First there was film, as it always had been. Then digital cameras. Then better ones. Then phone cameras. Then exponentially better ones.

Compact mirrorless cameras that rivaled or exceeded bigger cameras in quality.

The steady loss of analog publications that use photography (and pay for it), with the steady rise of online platforms (that don’t).

Instagram. AI.

All are changes that could more or less be called seismic in the industry and practice of photography.

All occurred just within my photographic life.

My father taught me photography in our little home darkroom, where I spent endless hours wrestling with the enlarger and easel, tongs and chemicals, burning and dodging, obsessing over how to get a print just right. I developed film in the kitchen or…

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Bill Crandall
Counter Arts

Photographer and educator. Exploring how art and stories can take us forward. Carrying the fire.