an Holga like picture of Moskow, shoot with a Nikon D3
Now that we all live the Digital culture and Photoshop is our definitive guru I feel it's time to move on. Most of you will know by now what a Plug In (PI) is and what is offered in the market. Practically, to make it simple, a PI is just a shortcut for functions already existing into Photoshop. If you wish to recreate a cross-process color cast to your image you could do it regulating the curves (actually there is also a preset in CS5). But commercial PIs are coming in many forms that will make the job for you. Of course they have gone a long way further: now you can have a Holga looking image, which is a combination of several regulations, in one single step. And the list is long.
But it's here that I have a lot to discuss. The vast majority of popular PI are offering a range of regulations that will recreate the results of traditional photography. From B&W as shoot on several type of films, to slide or negative film tonalities (and even grain), to vignetting and chemical alterations. In short, they are looking back, not forward. In doing so they answer the desire of photographers to perpetuate their style with the new digital media but jeopardize the potential wish for a stylistic evolution. Digital is offering a great freedom of expression (shooting at low light, shooting a lot, seeing what you are getting on the spot): why aren't we using it do develop new potential forms of expression? Why we keep looking back?
The reasons are obvious, having to do with our visual culture and history. But I keep saying that if photography does not evolve will be condemned to oblivion. At least that photography that wishes to express itself at a higher level, representing a message and not just a visual chronicle of something.
We hope we will not need "third party" tech help to develop these new ways. In music, video, art in general, the evolution is clear. Sometimes controversial, but unmistakably underway. Photography needs new visionaries with great ideas..