Side by Side from London
My first post, hi all.
I have been photographing people for 40 years this year. Hardly mid-life crisis but I have this yearning and I am getting back to film. After digital shooting for the last 18 years I now find myself going through a re-learning curve.
There is not reason why digital and film can't sit side by side, lighting a subject is not 'generally' subject to the recording media. Shoot digital and you can 'process' from RAW and simulate the same, and more, technical enhancements gained in the darkroom. The only real difference as I see it is the time difference. To instantly review what you have shot or wait for the wet process to be completed.
Almost anyone can shoot digital. I shoot tens of thousands of pictures each year and often 'amend' what I see on the screen. Even though, when asked to take pictures, I have a good idea in my head as to what they will look like I only shoot RAW so I can and often do use my experience to software modify the shoot results. The convenience of digital allows me to 'change my mind'.
Having said that; there is something beautiful about film and the craft of using it to produce that finished print, that is not there in digital. And I miss that.
When I started I used a Nikon F, later also a Hasselblad, learnt to look at the light around me, judged the correct exposure based on the ASA and banged away. I remember the excitement of returning to the lab to look at my freshly processed contacts or trany's. I also remember building a relationship with the lab technicians in that they would share the review process and we would engage about the shoot, something long gone with the advent of digital. And I miss that.
In 1991 my remaining Nikon gear was stolen during a burglary, while I was at my mothers funeral, so I decided not to replace it. A few months ago someone gave me a pristine Nikon FE body with an MF-12 back. In the back of a draw I located a Series E 50mm 1.8 I have had for over 20 years, purchased for £20 an MD-12 drive, some new batteries and put a couple of rolls through it to see if the meter and shutter were still OK. They are. Seeing the results has fired something inside me I thought was lost.
What next? I did something I never do. I started looking at other peoples work. As a fresh faced freelance photojournalist (?) I made a decision that my ideas would be mine and not influenced by the work of other photographers. Sticking to that rule, through my career, I have managed to produce a few iconic pictures that I am proud of.
Because of that rule I had forgotten the breadth of diversity, from the earliest pictures and processes on. I am pumping with new ideas as to what I want to shoot, to go back in time and learn about tin types, collotypes, light like Karsh and use Adox film again (last time was around 35 years ago).
But I won't give up digital and am currently looking to get the new D800 to supplement my kit. I am also building an LED lighting kit to complement my Bowens and my five SB800's. Working for the Met, where my results are needed, like yesterday, I will continue using digital.
The bug has bitten me and, due to the cut backs, if as I expect I lose my job after the Olympics I aim to open my own studio and offer both digital and film, side by side.
My regards to all with wet hands.