Thursday, May 28, 2009

old archives, digital vs film, feeling nostalgic.

I just found this photo in my old archives.
I took it 7 years ago when I practically knew nothing about photography.
By then, digital photography was still a distant dream for amateur photographers and I used several 35mm cameras. I enjoyed developing my photos so much that I made plans to have a black and white laboratory at home. I wanted to make my own fine art prints.
It's amazing how things have changed in 7 years.
Before, we had to think properly prior to shooting because the roll wasn't eternal like a memory card can be. If a couple of photos were good in 36exp. roll, I would be happy. And then I would look into the next roll.
Another thing that made the difference was the film it self. We had to know all sorts of things about that specific negative film because there were a whole lot of different types. Some grainier than others, some sharper, high contrast, low contrast, etc.
And after thinking about the film we had to make plans for the future, i. e. think of the paper we were going to use to make the prints, what kind of developer (for the film *and* for the paper), if we were using other chemicals like selenium, it was nearly endless, it took time and expertise to get good results.
But a photo was a project.
I miss the stench of the chemicals. I miss being alone in the dark trying to put the film in the spirals. It was a great deal! Really it was! It was exciting to know that we couldn't fail any step or our beloved photos would be ruined, bland, dirty. Even washing the film was difficult because of lime-scale deposits.
And then I bought a digital camera, and I never developed my photos again.

The lab was turned into a closet and the enlarger is in the box.
Digital photography is much safer than analog. You take the pic, put in your computer and with a bunch of preset actions your photo can be ready. You don't need to sit in the dark anymore and you depend on high quality computers with super graphic cards in it. You need a good screen, good computer skills, and you need to know a lot of new words like colorspace and white-balance.
No more old-school dodging and burning. No more cardboard masks and thin wires to hold them. No more wet photos, no more contact sheets, no more analog. Photography stayed almost the same for 100 years and then changed in less than 10. Some people still do it the old way. I wish I still could just for the fun it used to be.

Hope you like the photo anyway.
I still do. In fact I just had it printed and will frame it et all.

5 comments: said...

Although I was never even near your level of expertise, I also miss the "analogue" darkroom a lot. So much so that I too have all the lab (enlarger et al) boxed away at home -I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of it.

Nice trip down the memory lane Jojo. :-)

Restelo said...

eu gosto da foto, mas admito que a parte de ter o lab me fascina...

Anonymous said...

e os olhos vermelhos e inchados depois de umas horas na câmara escura.

e os reagentes a oxidar rapidamente.

e a temperatura raramente no nível desejado.

e o papel, caro como o raio.

e as provas cheias de pelos e encarquilhadas no dia seguinte.

mas dava gozo ver as imagens a aparecer, a revelarem-se.

o que sinceramente lamento é que as máquinas digitais vivem de perfis automáticos e de menus impossíveis, deixaram de ser manobráveis. Nunca mais parti para uma foto sabendo à partida que a ia fazer com 250/5.6 -
Voltámos bastantes ao point & shoot & depois logo se vê, e isso não é gratificante para as pessoas que faziam artesanato com a fotografia.

Dave Hodgkinson said...

Nostalgia is bullshit. Getting wrapped up in the process of development is the same as dicking around on the computer.

Take the image you want.

Lua said...

I never got the lab part because i started a bit later than you :( I would have loved to learn and used it but i was too tight on money and space to do it back then :(

The photo is lovely!