the organic process of PHOTOGRAPHY

A preface to my project NOFI


the organic process of


Photography is the science, art, and practice of creating images by recording light or other radiation. These images are created either in analog by means of a light-sensitive material, or digitally by means of an image sensor. Digital imaging versus photographic film has been a topic of discussion in the world of photography since the late 1990s, when digital cameras started to become easily accessible. 

Analog photography is an organic process from beginning to end. When you shoot, there is no Auto-Focus, Image stabilization, auto white balance, or auto lighting optimizer. You need patience and passion for the art of photography to shoot analog. This organic process is like meditation, you take one breath at a time until you get what you desire, it is an act of zen. In the introduction to Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel, D.T. Suzuki states that “Zen is the ‘everyday mind,’” he continues to say “this ‘evereyday mind’ is no more than ‘sleeping when tired, eating when hungry.’ ” And, that is what the organic process of photography should be.

The fact that analog photography is a slower process allows you to experiment in the different realms of photography, both when shooting and in the darkroom. The most wonderful thing that happens when you are working in analog is happy accidents, which is something that hardly ever occurs when working in front of a screen. When you go into photoshop you go in with an illustrators mindset correcting colors, erasing blemishes, removing or adding objects, and so on.  Every photographer that says “I’ll fix that in photoshop” is no longer viewing his image making as a photographer but as an illustrator. When working with film, you go in with the mindset of an image maker, you know that whatever you capture is on your sheet, and there is no photoshop in the darkroom. As Henri Cartier-Bresson would say it is all about “the decisive moment.”

In analog you also have more options when it comes to creating your images. You can use different chemistries for developing your film or paper, giving you different effects. And, you also have different methods of shooting as well as printing. For example, for shooting analog photography you have Daguerrotype, Infrared, Pinhole, Polaroid, Tintype, and Wetplate Collodion; to name a few. And for printing you have Albumen, Anthotype, Bromoil, Carbon, Chemigrams, Cyanotypes, Gum Bichromates, Silver Gelatin, and the list continues. 

On the website you can find twenty-nine different methods of printing and shooting in analog, including the ones listed above all primarily from the 19th century. While in digital you have two tools, one being photoshop and the second being you’re printer. And, until recent years you were limited on what you can print on digitally.

Digital imaging is just at a disadvantage when comes to the creation of imagery. You have a lost of image quality, as Joe Cha states in his article "Why Film Is Still Better Than Digital” film controls highlights better, blends light and color better, the grain is aesthetically pleasing, and you can shoot without selling your soul.  Another thing to think about is that “You can lose years of photographic work from a computer crash if you haven’t backed up your files“ (Rachael Towne), while your film will continue to be there. 

Digital imaging is a great method when working commercially, but when it comes to creative image making analog photography is the way to go. What you give up when you use digital methods is the feel, depth, and soul that film applies to your images but most importantly you loss the art of photography. 


Work Cited

  1. Anchell, Stephen G. The Darkroom Cookbook. Boston: Focal, 2000. Print.
  2. Beck, Jamie, and Kevin Burg. "Film vs. Digital." Ann Street Studio. N.p., 27 Mar. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.
  3. Cha, Joe. "Why Film Is Still Better Than Digital." SLR Lounge. N.p., 17 Jan. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.
  4. Dharod, Rahul. "Analog vs. Digital Photography – the Eternal Debate." Analog vs. Digital Photography – the Eternal Debate. Foto Flock, 13 June 2008. Web. 24 Oct. 2014.
  5. "Differences between Analogue and Digital - Canon Professional Network." Canon Professional Network. Canon, n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2014.
  6. "Do You Really Need Digital?" Digicam Guides. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  7. Herrigel, Eugen, and DT Suzuki. Zen in the Art of Archery. Trans. R. F. C. Hull. New York, NY: Pantheon, 1953. Print.
  8. Towne, Rachael. "Is Film Truly Superior to Digital?" Light Stalking. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
  9. "29 Quotes By Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.” John Paul Caponigro â Digital Photography Workshops, DVDs, EBooks. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

Hi from Berlin


I just wanted to drop a line to everyone who has helped me on my path. Today marks my second week in Berlin (pronounced Bearlin), my time here has been amazing so far. And, I'm afraid I won't want to head back to LA at the end of my two months. The people here are so open and willing to have meaningful conversations.

Underground Berlin

Top Left to Right: Joshue Molina, Duy Dao, Prof. Michael Sans, Prof. Robert Ball, Alvin Oei, Tatiana Cardenas, and Giafranco Ocampo  

Bottom Left to Right: Elbert Tiao, Cerra Teng, Yeun Kim, Seth O'Hara, and Michelle Parrott

Image by Robert Thompson

My project here is running through Art Center's graphic design program. Our trip is entitled Underground Berlin, where we are exploring the underground scene. Our first week here was possibly one of the most exciting weeks I've ever had. Our professor's divided the city into five sectors and gave us five days to explore the city. This allowed my group (Duy Dao, Seth O'Hara, Yeun Kim, and I) to explore and get to know the city for what it actually is and not look at it as tourists. During this time I took the opportunity to begin photographing the architecture, environment, people, and street art. I've started to post some of the work in progress, feel free to take a look at it when you get a chance. (

After a week of exploring and presenting our exploration with my group, I began to question things... What is the underground? What is Berlin known for?  and; What do the locals innovate? It seems like there isn't really an underground in Berlin. Everything seems to be accepted in one way or another. And, It almost seems like the city has commercialized the underground by offering street art workshops and tours entitled "The Real Berlin Experience". After a conversation with one of our professors I came to the realization that the underground isn't always underground. The underground is whatever is currently being innovated. Berliners are known for being alternative, creative, expressive, foodie, liberal, "Poor but sexy", punk (edgy), and resourceful. The locals have innovated art colonies, co-housing communities, eco-villages, and urban agriculture.

All of these things influenced my concept pitch for my project. I pitched three ideas for my concept, which were alternative communities, alternative dining, and alternative sound. And, at this point my project seems to be based on alternative communities. I will start my research this week which will lead me to the finalization of my concept and allowing to get to my end goal. Currently, my end goal is  to innovate a new alternative community, wether that be with art, design, or photography is one of the things I will discover in my research. 

Dankeschön (Thank you very much),

Joshue Molina



Friday afternoon, as I was walking to the boxing gym where I'm currently working on a photo project. This gentleman approached me, he asked me for spare change. I responded "I'm sorry I never carry cash." We both stood patiently at the light to cross the street. He took his first step forward, and I said "if you like I can buy you a meal." He replied "no thanks, all I really want is a chocolate milkshake." We walked into McDonald's, everyone stared us as if we were contagious. After I placed the order I stood there with him and I came to learn that Erick has been institutionalized for the past eleven years. I had the urge, but I didn't ask why. He went on to ask what I did for a living and I responded that “currently, I am following my bliss and am an emerging photographer." He when on to tell me that his father was a photographer, and that he was also a teacher. The time to part ways came and with hesitation, I asked "do you mind if I take your portrait?” Without even hesitating he said “yes!” We shook hands and parted ways.