As tandlh said, there's a whole range of skills to master to create a great digital print - understanding channels, color management, HDR etc, just as film requires understanding paper, film type etc. - plus artistic skills such as an eye for composition.
JamesJames O'Toole Photography
Quite true, James, but the huge difference is that the required learning with film was very simple and depended, more or less, on oneīs ability to repeat basic lab procedures in order to eliminate variables.
With digital, not only does one have to master many more stages between exposure and final result, whatever that might be, but the shooting part of the process becomes ever more complicated too, as the thread about digital carts of bricks has indicated very well.
Simply put, there is no longer an almost organic bond between photographer and captured image, there is a more complex relationship with a gang of whatever number of people/skills thinks itself entitled to have an input. Intimacy has fled the roost. Maybe its the gang-bang approach to photography rather than the more personal and, dare I say it, romantic one.
A lot is made about the many skills that go into being a digital superman; wonderful, Iīm sure, but thatīs not the same as being in love with photography per se, and in my opinion, ever further from the love affair with the medium that brought some of us into it. I donīt knock anyone who has those many skills: I just say that it/they have clouded the issue more than somewhat, have re-defined it, in fact. I never wanted to have the skills that typesetters, transparency scanning pros or litho printers had - I just wanted to feel happy in the knowledge that I could produce good work on demand and that, should everything else fail, there would be something there purely because of basic pro know-how even if not much else happened to be going for the shoot at the time. I suppose it was the feeling that it was all down to me, that I was not just a bloody cog, though I do realise that all cogs are important.
But then, I guess that if I were still fighting the fight today I would just have adapted or died.