Tag Archives: 35mm film

Don’t take my Kodak away | Eamonn McCabe | CiF | guardian.co.uk

The very name Kodak is synonymous with all that is good about photography. It’s an irony that just as film is making a comeback with many photographers, the major firm in photography’s history – which made its first camera way back in 1888—is struggling.

Kodak’s film has been used by every photographer worth his salt, or should that be silver, for more than 100 years. Those little yellow film boxes with the familiar red writing said you cared about your work, and in the case of Kodachrome were prepared to wait days while Kodak sent it to Paris to be processed.

Photographers, a wily bunch, have seen this demise coming for a while and many have fridges full of “out of date” film that they ration.

Funnily enough, I am finding an increasing interest in film photography again, possibly because of a ground swell of interest in the wider photography world where people are rediscovering the joys of analogue photos. I still have my Olympus 35mm SLR, and blogged recently about adventures with larger formats.

I would like to take issue with Mr McCabe’s contention that Kodak failed to adapt to the digital revolution. Kodak invented digital photography. The first professional digital cameras were made by Kodak in the early 1990s, and almost every domestic digital camera was a Kodak until their competition caught up.

Oddly, aside from the occasional roll of slide film, I was never a Kodak baby. I adopted Fuji as my main colour film, and Ilford as my black and white film. And then digital arrived in my life. If I do decide to get back into analogue photography, I suspect I will work in black and white almost exclusively—if only because it gives me an option to process my own film easily.

Avro Vulcan

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I’ve been doing to some scanning.

I’ve had a scanner that could perform transparency and negative scans for a while, but it had been a bit limited (35mm uncut strips only, no slides, etc). Doing any quantity of scans was always a bit of a chore, frankly.

About a year ago I purchased a better scanner, with pro level features. It was loaned to a small company I was involved in, and when they sadly went bust I got the machine back. Just recently a friend upgraded their Mac and I was essentially given their old G4 Mac mini. Ideal for a scanner station, where all it has to do is drive the scanner and run the software.

So I’ve been doing some scanning.

To familiarise myself with the kit and software I have begun the task of scanning a whole bunch of negatives I had selected a while ago. There’s stuff in there from a model railway show where I was “official” photographer, random stuff shot on black and white negative film, and some colour slides from the other half, dating back over four decades. All good stuff to learn how the scanner works, as I intend to try and drum up some business for it.

Anyway, the Vulcan is one of my favourite images—and aircraft. Shot on the old Olympus OM10 on Ilford HP5 ISO400 neg film, the plane was displaying at a Duxford air show in the Autumn of 1988. There’s another shot in the Flickr stream where the plane is almost directly overhead, silhouetted against some patchy clouds. I had forgotten I even took that shot.

Anyway, I guess I should plug the business. Please visit the Imagic Design web site and find out what I can do in the way of design and stuff.

Drift

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Another week passes in which I haven’t taken a photo, or even taken my camera gear out of the bag. If I am as keen a photographer as I make out, this is a worry to me. Why would I neglect a creative interest so? What could possibly be a reason for not getting out making pictures?

First, the excuses. I don’t have time (the most feeble excuse known to man). The days are too short and dark. The weather has been inclement. There are no interesting things to photograph within walking distance (with the price of fuel these days, I keep unnecessary car journeys to an absolute minimum). The house is so cluttered I can’t find room for a small indoor studio.

They are just excuses. I am smart enough that I should be able to go out for a walk and get some images, no matter what the weather or lighting conditions. It’s part of the fun of photography, after all, this need to learn new stuff, to push the boundaries of my knowledge. 

While I ponder such matters concerning digital photography, and whether I may as well sell my gear if I am not going to actually use it, I’ve been finding some time to digitise images from my past photographic life. I have been making pictures on and off for nearly 30 years now, and I have drawers and boxes stuffed with film negatives and prints just crying out to be seen again. A request from an old acquaintance for images I might have from a model railway thing I was involved with some years ago gave me cause to actually pull negs out of their dark hideaways to find suitable shots.

Of course, I discovered loads of other images I had forgotten about. I set the strips of negatives to one side, and made myself a promise I would at least try to get the more interesting stuff scanned fairly quickly. I have been doing just that these past few days — though this first pass of scans is more to see what’s there than to truly archive the images. A few things have to slot into place before I can get the proper grown-up scanner in place to make proper archive versions.

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In a way, I hope being able to review stuff I took when I was much younger and greener will encourage me to get the modern gear out and keep at it. I need something to really fire my enthusiasm again. As I type, I realise it’s been nearly four months since I last handled the DSLR. This is not good. Not good at all.