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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

NOTICEBOARD

ARE YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHERS BRINGING ABOUT A FILM REVIVAL?

SEEING my latest copy of Amateur Photographer discreetly hidden under a pile of papers on my desk, my colleague quizzed me on my photographic interests. Explaining that I'd got a digital compact as well as what was left of my film gear, but that I'd regretted recently selling some of my film cameras, she told me that her daughter was at university studying photography.

'She won't use a digital camera, though,' she said, which I must admit I found quite astounding. I naturally assumed that most young people would regard film equipment as something from the Stone Age. Not a bit.

'Why's that? I asked. 'She doesn't like the complexities of modern cameras, and all the stuff you have to do on the computer. She'd rather wait and see what comes out and she loves the work in the darkroom'. She then went onto tell me how how her daughter visited a camera shop that specialised in old film cameras at bargain prices, and was always adding a new one to her growing collection.

In an age when I - somewhat naively, as it turned out - thought that most people under 30 would regard using film as something primitive, akin perhaps to using a typewriter instead of a laptop, my colleague's revelation came as a pleasant surprise. But why was I surprised I wondered? The answer was staring me in the face, because despite owning a very nice digital compact myself - which does take, it has to be said, some tremendous photographs - I just cannot use it in the same intutive way that I can with my all-manual Nikon SLR.

Despite the large LCD screen, in all but the dullest light I cannot always clearly see the image  I've just taken, and it's only when I get home that I realise I've misjudged the exposure. If that's the case, then what's the point of digital? If I can't clearly see the image on the back of the camera then I might as well re-engage my brain and use a film camera.

Perhaps my colleague's young daughter has realised, we've lost the anticipation of photography - those most wonderful moments when we get back the pack of prints, the box of slides or the sheer satisfaction of seeing a selection of images taken on basic equipment, knowing we made the decision on the exposures, and maybe, just maybe, got them right.

Despite the never-ending proliferation of mobile phones with cameras, constant equipment upgrades, ever more complicated software and the somewhat soulless nature of digital photography, it is good to see that some young people are keeping the spirit of film photography alive. Good luck to them.

From the Back Chat section of Amateur Photographer magazine 11 June 2011 issue. An article by AP reader Martin Johnson.

An edited version appears here.

2 comments:

  1. It's a surprise to me too...but a happy one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. From a personal perspective it's really heartening to hear stories like this. Because I agree 100% with the positive comments made here about film photography. You will gather by that, I am no fan of digital photography.

    Thank you Christine for posting a comment.

    ReplyDelete

SLIDE SHOW

HELLO AND WELCOME

To my Photo Blog,

All my monochrome photography is darkroom produced. This portfolio consists of photographs from several of my projects, assignments, personal and course related work. Some of these monochrome photographic prints are then selectively toned.

Take a look at the slide show, or the popular posts. Click onto some of the many excellent blogs that I have listed in my blog roll. I welcome constructive feedback (post a comment).

Click onto the links in some of my posts which will then take you to the relevant website link where you will be able to find out more about that location, charity or organisation etc featured in the post and which is relevant to that specific image.

Also please click onto my links. Join my blog and my Google + followers. If you would like to know more about any particular photograph or project then please send me an email. My email address is at the foot of this page.

Also from time to time I will post videos that are of interest to me, mainly from my military background.

Yours sincerely

Trevor David Betts BA (Hons)

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TECHNICAL INFORMATION

All the photographs featured on this blog spot were taken on Canon analog 35mm SLR cameras which included: Canon A1, Canon AE1 (non-programme) and Canon T90. The Canon A1 was rendered useless after prolonged exposure to salt spray residue, and the AE1 suffered a malfunction, and one of my T90s just packed up on me during a photographic shoot.

Most of my camera equipment was initially purchased brand new, then as the years have past I have purchased second-hand equipment. But the vast majority of equipment I currently possess is well over twenty years old.

Canon FD lenses used were: 28, and 35mm wide angle, 50mm standard, 35-105mm short telephoto zoom and a 70-210mm large telephoto zoom lenses. Also used was a loaned Mamiya 645 with 50 and 80mm lenses. My favourite combination is a T90 fitted with the 35-105mm lens with an Hoya orange filter. I use Hoya orange, red, neutral density, and skylight filters. Hoya and Canon lens hoods. A Canon remote cable. I have used a great Metz 45 CT-4 flashgun for many years. I used this for the bounced and fill-in flash for some of the documentary and portraiture work.

Studio flash used was Courtenay brolly flash (just two heads fitted with soft boxes) at Hull Community Artworks studio (sadly this excellent local arts facility closed in 2001). Billingham and Tamrac camera bags (the Billingham is a old model that I have had for years - wonderful bags). The Tamrac one is a medium sized back pack type bag. Slik Black Diamond 88, and 500 DX Pro tripods. A Cullmann touring set (which consists of a light tripod, ball and swivel head, all-purpose clamp, suction cap, and a ground spike). I presently have three Canon T90 and one A1 SLR cameras.

Film used was mainly 35mm (with some 120mm). Ilford Delta monochrome negative print film, 100 asa (a few rolls of 400 asa as well). Ilford HP5 and FP4 (400 and 125 asa respectively). Fuji Neopan 400 asa. Various Fuji colour film. Photographic chemicals: Ilford ID-11 and Microphen film developers. Agfa Rodinal fine grain film developer, and Ilford Hypam fixer.

Photographic paper: Ilford Multigrade IV VC paper, Fibre based VC paper including warm and cool tone. Kentmere Velvet Stipple and Art Document papers. Kodak selenium toner. Barclay and Fotospeed sepia toners, and Colorvir blue toner. Durst M60 and Meopta 5 enlargers fitted with 50 and 80mm Schneider lenses. Kenro negative sheets and Jessops negative folders.

Most of my photography involves the use of the camera being securely mounted onto the tripod, with the shutter set to the 10 second delay. I bracket my exposures (relying on the excellent Canon in-camera meter). My aperture settings are usually between F5.6 and F22. In the vast majority of cases the very first exposure I take is usually the correctly exposed one.

Finished photographic prints (spotted if needed). At the 10 x 8 inch size are then scanned on an Epsom 1660 photo perfection scanner using Adope Photoshop CS2 at the 5.5 x 3.5 inch image or canvas size, 150 dpi and at the 750 x 550 pixels size, and saved as for the web. The only thing that is manipulated is the brightness balance and contrast levels.

DON'T FORGET

"It is the soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to fair protest.

It is the soldier, not the politician, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."

From: "Fighting for Queen and Country,
by Nigel 'Spud' Ely. Blake Publishing London, 2007.
"