Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trying to break an emotional bond

There can be no doubt I love film and film cameras.
The smell when opening a fresh film canister is like perfume and holding a beautiful 1950s rangefinder or a pristine Rollei still sends shivers down my spine.
I like the look of images produced by film -- I think it is magical and I like to look through old negatives and slides. Having a beer while I wait for a roll of film to be developed makes me feel like a kid on Christmas morning -- except for the beer part. I sometimes believe I have Rodinal or D-76 in my veins and digital imagesx and cameras, more often than not, leave me emotionally distant.
But with all that said, I am seriously considering a complete switch to digital. What, you may wonder, has brought on this 180 degree turn-around? In a word, 'cost.'
Last week I took a roll of film to the lab I regularly use and asked them to do the normal 'develop and scan to cd' bit. What I did not know is they had increased their prices, dramatically. When I got handed the bill, I was left reeling. All of my arguments about film not being more expensive than digital suddenly no longer held any water.
As I drove home I can honestly say I felt betrayed, abandoned by an old friend. Since then I have gone through some major, internal, mental-wrestling. Logic tells me it's time to say goodbye to the 20 or so mechanical film cameras I have but the problem is, I have developed strong emotional bonds with them.
I know I can do the same or better with my digital cameras -- in fact I can no longer argue digital is inferior to film. The truth is, it isn't and hasn't been for a long time.
And clients' simply don't care. I've tried to position myself as doing something different by shooting film but no-one cares. Sad but true.
I haven't finally decided my course, though logic tells me I will keep a couple of cameras to shoot the odd roll of film, mostly for fun.
Naturally the Rollei will stay and most likely the Bronica so I can shoot B&W while I have colour in the Rollei. And the Yasica A will probably stay because it has a triplet lens produces nice portraits. I'll keep the Voigtlander Prominent because it's so beautiful, and the two Retinas because they have sentimental value. And, if I'm keeping the rangefinders, I probably should hang on to the Ricoh as it easily fits in my pocket. There's also not much point in getting rid of the Nikons because the lenses can be used on the digital bodies...
Arrrgh!! fuck it! Why is life so complicated?

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