When I used to go out for the day to do a bit of landscape photography, I carried around a couple of gadget bags full to the brim with two 35mm Olympus bodies, various lenses, a medium format camera, assorted filters and a tripod strapped to my back. Then I’d wait a few days to see the results, If I wanted to show the photos on a screen then I had to think when I bought the film and purchase either Kodachrome or Fuji Velvia slide film.
I first bought a digital camera in 2000 which was a massive 720 x 480 resolution, in its a day a pretty acceptable standard but useless for anything more than a 5 x 7 inch print. I carried it everywhere with me I even used it to take a photo of The Cartoon Networks Scooby Doo mystery machine, I spotted parked up randomly in a lay-by, the picture ended up in the local paper. The novelty of a viewing screen and the fact that I could print the photos in seconds offset the poor picture quality…..
We now all carry a several mega-pixel camera in the form of a smartphone… We put up with the shutter delay where the phone seems to be deciding whether it actually wants to take a picture or not as the convenience of always having a camera with us outweighs it. We can show our friends the photos in seconds (complete with a description or sarcastic comment) through social media. If I’d wanted to show all my friends pictures I’d took on 35mm film I would have to have posted out hundreds of copies.
I still have a digital camera, in the form of a Nikon DSLR and I do use it (I shot the cover of my ebook Sugar Beat on it) but I don’t carry it everywhere with me like I did in the past, because my phone can do an acceptable job instead. In fact at a wedding recently, the D.J told us to get our phones ready for the first dance, rather than our cameras.
Phones and digital cameras have got us all taking and sharing lots more photographs, so as the title of this blog asks, is film dead?…
Last year I decided that I was taking photos too quickly, pressing the shutter release like a machine-gun trigger rather than taking my time composing each shot weighing up different aperture/shutter speed balances. So I decided to take one of my old Olympus cameras with me on holiday to make me think more about my photography as the roll of film only held 36 shots rather than the 1000 odd of a memory card and you have to think about composition more when you take the photo as cropping is trickier than with digital images.
Did the experiment work…. were my photos better with film? I don’t know, the undeveloped roll of film is languishing in a drawer somewhere….. does that answer the original question?
Photo credit. Ana Ulin