Digital photography has not yet reached the point of being able to emulate the feeling of a print created in the wet darkroom. It gets closer every year. But it’s not there yet.
There is a big difference between data being squeezed through a processor and sent to a spray nozzle designed to spray ink on to a sheet of paper designed for having ink sprayed onto it’s surface and capturing light onto a light sensitive substrate (film), processing the sheet of film to recover the image, and using light to project the recovered image onto light sensitive paper that is then processed, in chemicals, to record the image. Neither method is bad or good. They are just methods.
I have returned to creating images on film. I still use digital. I embrace both technologies but it is my hope that by studying the images that I create with film, good and bad, that I can improve both the technical aspects, as well as the artistic aspects, of my photography.
I don’t have a wet darkroom and I may never have one. I process my black and white negatives in my kitchen, then I scan them. then I process them in Photoshop CC and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, then I print them through Lightroom 5 to an Epson printer. You read that right, I send my scanned black and white file to SEP2. I also scan them as a color positive.
The digital medium has opened the doors to photography for almost everyone but I’m afraid that the bulk of the flood of images that have been created, thanks to the relatively easy access to digital technology, are predominantly crap. I know that I have contributed to the plethora of crappy images in my 7-1/2 years as a digital photographer. However, digital has also greatly increased access to image excellence. We as photographers also have access to a wide variety of training. Photographers will advance the craft and picture takers will continue to take pictures. Neither are good or bad, it’s just how it is.
In the end, for me, it’s about raising the bar for my photography by using and enjoying whatever method I choose to use to do so.