Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Film Reversal


nixons, originally uploaded by Pig Sty Ave.

My Cousin Graham was visiting at the weekend. He lives in Hampshire. That’s me and his Dad, my Uncle Eddy. Graham’s a professional photographer, and that was naturally the main topic for the evening. He was happy to talk shop. I learned a lot from him in a few hours. Some of what I learned is really important.

Just a few days ago I wrote here that “there’s nothing quite like black and white film”. Hmm. There is if I set the d50 to shoot in RAW, and do a wee bit of post processing in Photoshop. I did that yesterday to test out what he’d said, and it wasn’t the drink talking. Tell the truth, I’d begun secretly to fear that the d50 was little more than a glorified point-and-shoot. That’s because I was shooting jpegs. RAW’s a whole new world of clarity. This photo I took quite casually as my opening gambit in the Happy Trails Newcastle game seems to me to have all the sharp quality I was seeking in black and white, and had imagined I’d only get from film. All I had to do in Photoshop was to desaturate, and to tweak the contrast a smidgen.

This revelation has made me question the point of using film at all. Why put money into the pockets of the makers and developers of film? If you can get the same results from digital photography, more cheaply, more quickly, then what’s the point of film? It’s eccentric – not to say cranky. A lot of fun for those who do it, a social thing, like playing vinyl. But if the object is to take memorable photos, then digital’s your only man.

So I’m going to finish entirely with film once I’ve completed a Tale of Two Cities double exposure project I’m committed to now. All the money I save will go towards a prime lens with a 1.4f aperture so that I can get on with my project of recording the world around me.

I feel about this like Bob Dylan perhaps did when he decided to go electric. Some of my film oriented friends might not like it, but they are going to have to do that awful thing which is: minding their own business.

NB – On the subject of friends. I’ve added my mate Oli’s blog to The 12 Merry Blogs. Apologies to him for not doing so sooner.