Massimo Vitali’s diptych of the Sao Paolo market in Brazil highlights the dichotomy of digital vs. analogue photography and its various implications. One photograph is taken with analogue film and one with a digital camera, leaving the viewer to contemplate the minimal difference between the two images. The artist’s intent is to provoke in the viewer a series of reflections specifically on the medium employed and more generally on the larger idea of representation.

The principal reflection which is raised by the photographs is the age-old question of the relationship between photography and reality which goes beyond the technical differences of analogue and digital photography.

The question of representation which has defined the history of photography again becomes of paramount importance, drawing together both ethical and aesthetic questions viewed through the lens of the technical dichotomy of analogue vs. digital.

The representation of reality depends on the technical structure of the camera (analogue – digital) which then extends to the role and presence of the artist, who is faced with a technology system which had seemed to exclude any possible interference or allowance for interpretation.

This in turn leads us back to the centuries old question of photography’s capacity to objectively record reality, a means which is incapable of lying, or at least more so than other expressive forms.

This claim is derived from the established linguistic-semiotic thinking that states that if a medium cannot lie it is not a symbol, if it is not a symbol it cannot become a language, and if it is not a language it is not a cultural act.

Digital photography has brought this complex series of reflections back into the limelight, revolving around the statute of realism which has been debated at length in the past by the likes of Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag.

Alessandro Romanini, "Digital vs. Analog" In Il passo sospeso. Esplorazioni del limite, catalog of the exhibition at the Ragghianti Foundation in Lucca. June 24 - September 3, 2017.