Slow Death

It hasn’t been a great to be a film photographer. During the course of the year we’ve lost an impressive list of favoured friends. Just off the top of my head: Neopan 400 (120), Astia, Neopan 1600, T-64, 160s, 160c, 800z, FP-100B, FP-400B, EPP-100, Kodachrome (yawn), Portra 400NC & VC (replaced by new Portra 400?) … there are also a bunch of other Kodak slide films that are no longer around.

I’m not convinced that colour film photography has much of a future. While it’s certainly true that it produces a more distinct feel than the clinical precision of digital, the trend is obvious — feeling is something that process in afterwards with photoshop, and not something that you leave up to the vagaries of compounds suspended in a cellulose like material.

Apart from the loss of Neopan 400 (120), which no doubt can be replaced by learning to use one of the Ilford films / chemical combinations, the saddest part is the discontinuation of all the b&w Fujiroid instant film. To be honest i never shot it very much, but it was lovely to have around because of the outlet it provided for digital like instant results. There is also some thing quite special about being able to spontaneously take and give away physical pictures. My feeling is that the Impossible project is going to stumble around pointlessly for a little longer, and then live up to it’s name. It seems very much the end of the road for instant film.

Colour film will only be dead to me when Velvia 50 is discontinued. Even then, colour isn’t central to my photography experience, and it’d take quite some effort for me to get motivated to try out other films. Much more likely that i’d simply join my friends who are hoping that PhaseOne back become an affordable secondhand commodity!

Below the fold are a couple of versions of the Leather Nun (classic?) Slow Death.

First one to comment without including the word ‘cheeky’ is the winner.

7 thoughts on “Slow Death

  1. Not to mention the latest Fujifilm price increase (5% – 20%) on all of their analog products. After my last 80 rolls of Super Presto are used up I’m thinking of going back to bulk loading:

    Which would you suggest? Ilford’s business plan is to be in the game until the end and Kodak says they are doing ok:

    • Been thinking about this since the death of presto. Fortunately the project i’ve been working on makes most sense on acros… which i’m dev’ing at 200. This is has let me postpone the decision.

      Fujifilm has a bit of problem with Velvia and Acros – the last time they tried to change them things got a little crazy. Perhaps they’ll e down to just a very few lines within a couple of years.

      To be honest i’m not a huge Kodak fan. Tri-X is better than T-Max (which i find way to contrasty… perhaps i just don’t know enough about processing it?) Can’t see myself getting all excited about shooting Tri-X for the rest of time.

      In europe i shot mostly Ilford HP5 and was really happy with it. In the future it’ll probably be HP5 or one of the Rollei films. All depends on the economics of it all where i end up and what is easily available locally.

    • Meant to say, if you’re all 135 then it might be worth souping a few rolls of Neopan 400 in Super Prodol for 9mins @ 20ºC for 1600. I’ve found that to be incredibly fine with the 120 version.

  2. Just watched Roland Joffe’s The Killing Fields again and it’s wonderful that a crucial part of the plot centers on when everyone is trapped in the French Embassy (including the Cambodian Fixer Dith Pran) and the Khmer Rouge want all the Cambodian “traitors” out, but John Malkovich screams that there has to be some film in the embassy, so they go off hunting for polaroid but end up having to use some 120mm Black & White in a rollei medium format, which Malkovich then has to develop in a closet with chemicals from an air conditioner. It only fails when his pocket protector full of photo paper ends up having been fogged and rendering Pran’s forged passport void.

    This is a pretty well-paced film regardless, but this ten-minute sequence was a romping and fun-filled example of human ingenuity. Now what would we do? When the power is cut by the incoming Taliban armies and our laptop battery is dead, how do we forge a passport to save a life? We don’t. Pran dies. (Some) Film is dead and dying. In a way, we all die.

Wise words...

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