Remember this picture from Day 17?
While searching through my pictures, I found the same scene shot in color with my Canon digital camera:
It’s a totally different picture, isn’t it? Even beyond the obvious differences (color, slightly wider shot), it conveys a very different sense of time and place. There are things in this picture that I like very much that are absent in the film version. I love the burst of the cigarette end and the sharpness of the light reflections. The colors – other than that sudden pop of yellow in the foreground – are muted and yet they seem vibrant because of the bright sunshine.
The film version naturally can’t covey the colors, and there’s less crispness to it. But it also seems to capture more than just colors and details. I feel like I can see a soul in that picture, a feeling that I’m witnessing a moment that is both timeless and ethereal. It’s just a second in the lives of all of us – the friends at the table, the pedestrians walking up the street, the tourist with a couple of cameras. And yet, how many times has this scene been – or will be – played out? This particular moment may have ended, but it’s not over; it’s only one instance of a long stream of moments just like this, just different times and places.
That’s according the film picture, anyway.
I wanted to try a more direct comparison, so I altered the color image to look as much as the film image as I could get using my Corel software.
They still feel like very different images to me, though I don’t feel confident in my ability to express exactly what they might be. There are deeper shadows and some areas of blurriness that make the film look different from the digital, but do they feel different?
What do you think? Are they the same or different? Do you have a preference?