I can trust the photographs that film photographers make from negatives, specifically real photographs–those prints that are developed in chemical trays and have no connection to the digital world. Because in the digital realm, there is no guarantee of genuineness, authorship.
We are in a world full of advertisements for cookie-cutter photographic looks, Photoshop-created skies, perfect-skin filters, and Lightroom presets—hold it right there, there are no presets in photography. There is nothing I would want less than to have to make my photos all look alike as designed by some other photographer (and maybe not even a photographer, just a Lightroom preset programmer who’s also a good salesperson.)
The problem with photography is there is no degree or certification needed to be one. All you have to do is say you are and that’s pretty much it. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t want to do the work and rather subscribe to the idea of the magic trick that will solve all artistic problems–that one camera that’s coming next, that next-level Photoshop update, that thing that does it all, every time, guaranteed. I know, that fast lens for amazing bokeh! Done!
If I can just get that…
Doesn’t exist. Never has, never will. That’s why all wedding photographs nowadays look alike, they all share the same presets (and fast lenses for the bokehlicious). It’s the Disney wedding that little girls have been sold and told they want, and it’s the same photographs that every one of their girlfriends also got that they want. It’s why when you see someone making authentic work, photographs that aren’t like the cookie-cutter photos as seen in the link above, how it stands out from the pack of tricksters.
The best photographers are the ones that don’t have to sell you on their look. Their work just oozes authentic, emotional photographs, something you can feel. It’s why news photojournalists are often called to document family events, even weddings. They know how to create an emotional story in pictures. That comes from a creative approach and genuine empathy for the subject that is unique to each photographic situation, and the skill created by making storytelling photos on a daily basis.
Time and experience make the photographer. Not a button in Photoshop.
It would be like asking the late great photographer Mary Ellen Mark to use a preset so that you could defeat her vision and get the same look as everyone else. The photograph is made with the eye of the photographer. She had no look. No preset. Just intuitiveness and an empathetic approach and a wonderful ability to create a photograph while connecting to her subject.
Something that’s impossible by simply buying a discounted preset on a computer program.
Photography is an art, and we don’t become a photographer because we buy business cards and a website. We have to do the work.