An unashamed film heretic…

One for Guido Benschop: Tasmanian portable toilet No. 1. Taken yesterday while testing my new 80-200mm Nikkor 2.8 D lens. © Rob Walls

I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t mourn the passing of film. The hollow, pissing-in-the-wind wails of those who claim a resurgence of the medium, cut no ice with me. One of the complaints of the old-hand film devotees is that in days gone by you could buy a camera and it would be twenty or thirty years before it needed replacing. I fail to see the merit of the argument. When I used a Speed Graphic, I welcomed the move to a twin lens TLR, When I used a rangefinder camera, I embraced the arrival of the SLR, then in-camera exposure metering and motor-winds.

One of the greatest joys of the photographer is opening the box of a brand-new camera and lifting out a pristine machine, full of potential and possibility; breathing in the new camera smell, so sensual and full of promise. I delight in the upgrading of my digital cameras as now I can get that new camera hit every year. If they could package that smell as an after-shave, I’d buy it.

I don’t splurge on the top-of-the range, $5,000 models, preferring mid-range professional cameras. Cameras that will do the job without breaking either my back or my bank. Pragmatic and unsentimental, I look at it from the point-of-view that a new digital camera can pay for itself with a single day’s work or the licencing of a few good stock shots. After that it’s all profit.

This month, I’ll enjoy that new camera charge twice. Two weeks ago with Canon’s beautifully rugged point-and-shoot, the G11…and next week opening one of those beautiful golden boxes and inhaling that heady Nikon smell with the delivery of a new D90.

I still recall the pleasures the darkroom gave me…but like old loves, I don’t want to revisit them. I’m content with replacing the smell of developer, stop bath and hypo with the more subtle and sophisticated aroma of new digital hardware. The odors of the darkroom were always about the past, of pictures already made; the smell of a new digital camera is about the future, it is the promise of pictures yet to come.

“Be not the first by whom the new are tried, nor yet the last to lay the old aside.” Alexander Pope

As dead as film...another lens test. Can't wait for the new D90 to arrive. © Rob Walls


Filed under Australian, Digital photography, Opinion, Photographer, Photography, Rob Walls, Tasmania

6 responses to “An unashamed film heretic…

  1. Hi Robert, The world is covered with toilets!! even in Tasmanian. Maybe a serie called: The revenge of the Toilets ☺

  2. Maybe an entire blog Guido…coming back from watching my daughter perform in a school orchestra concert, I glimpsed another I must shoot for you. A real “vay zee” overlooking the Derwent River.

    The more I think about it, the more I wonder about what people did before the proliferation of these little sanitary sentry boxes.

    • Irene Walls

      The boys pissed up against the tree ; the girls squatted behind.

      • There’s an entire doctorate thesis in this subject. It would appear that there are many less public toilets around today. Which is somewhat odd, in an age when an inordinate number of females find it impossible to walk more than fifty metres without clutching a plastic bottle of water. Surely there should be more toilets in line with the myth that for good health you must drink X number of litres of water a day, to “flush away toxins”? A Bedouin survivng on a mouthful of water and the occasional sucking on a pebble would appear to refute this.

  3. I could not agree more, Rob!

    After shooting film for 35 years I am delighted to now only shooting digital and loving it. I love the fact that it is fast and that I have total control from start to finish, instead of relying on laboratories to process my slides.

    Clients love it as well, because they can get photos straight away if needed, instead of having to wait for films to ne processed.

    No costs involved either, so more money for me.

    A win win for all!

    Roel Loopers

    • Also: you’ve no need for Polaroids; the client never gets to see your dud shots; you come away from a shoot knowing that you’ve got it in the bag; client feedback can be immediate; you can colour correct in the computer; you don’t have developer stains on your fingers; your lungs are not harmed by toxic fumes inhaled in enclosed spaces; your equipment now weighs less than a third of what it did before; you don’t need to carry so much lighting; and best of all you don’t have to waste time rabbiting on with “photosaurs” about the “magic” of film…

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