Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Film is Over

Ask any photographer over the age of 20 about film and they are liable to get misty eyed. Like with vinyl revivalists there has been a fighting rekindling of the magic that is white noise and all the other touchy feely properties of something that isn't scientifically perfect. Sure the digitisation of photography has cut off lots of inconvenient and expensive corners, but with its obsolescence something wholly has been lost.
Having found my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, in a field recently camped in by Girl Guides, I worked my way up to the mighty Linhof 6x12", a Brough Superior of a camera. I've worked both as a commercial and editorial photographer, and as a darkroom mole.
Although big jobs were shot on a Hasselblad 6x6" or a Mamiya 6x7", my personal favourite was the more humble Zenza Bronica 6x4.5". It's quality defied its modest size and pedigree. But with the digital tsunami it was relegated to a dusty crate in my office along with a Super 8 film projector and a once state-of-the-art Kodak Carousel slide projector. Both saw action in Amsterdam clubland before the video killed the fumbling celluloid star.
My beloved Bronnie has been kept like some holly relic, as I thought one day I'd like my son to use it. Family heirloom and all that. I'm so romantic. But I haven't touched it for what, 15 years. So I've broken it down into its constituent parts and chucked it on eBay for 99p.
What made me saddest was, while I was cleaning it at my desk, ike came in and said "Dada what does this do?" as he tried to reassemble the wonderful mechanism. BP


james boddy said...

I loved the delayed gratification of working on film, that feeling when you pick your prints up.

Nick said...

I miss watching the image appearing in the tray and the smell of the fix as you transferred the print from the processor to the fix. got hold of a n enlarger and some trays recently, and when I get the fireplace finished, I'm going to put a darkroom in the roof

747 said...

last year i dug my father's old camera out of deep storage, inside some old semi trailer. I was in grade school when the digital transition was made so I still remembered a bit. I have really enjoyed breaking out his old Olympus. It teaches me to take better more thought out pictures.

Nick said...

print from processor to----Should read" print from developer to"----

Mark Wilson said...

Respect for sticking it on ebay Ben. My old RB67 is in the back of my loft somewhere and my LPL enlarger has been in my parents' loft for who knows how long now, can't bring myself to get rid of them. I bought some film for my Nikon FM2 which was lovely to use again... though never got them processed. I will now.

All is not lost though. My son is off to secondary comp next year (or Academy or whatever they're called now) and when we looked around the brand new art & design department, amongst the iMacs and new 3d printer there was a small room.. filled with old DeVere enlargers. Kids using film as a way of learning how to see... brilliant.