It seems we are slowly getting rid of the old debate of Canon vs Nikon (Nikon of course!) when a new one is developing. Kodak had recently announced a new professional Portra 400 film and the question is WHY? Obviously they have a market for it or they would not be making it, but who is using it?
I have recently pointed this questions to a US based wedding photographer who had mentioned on twitter she is packing up her rolls of film for a wedding shoot. I wanted to know why but got no reply from her. I obviously deleted her from the list of people I follow. Maybe I was not diplomatic enough when I asked her if this was a way to differentiate herself from the other photographers rather than a creative decision. The answer is clear of course. There is nothing that cannot be achieved digitally today, and the only reason for someone to start shooting weddings, of all subjects, on film would be to try to look cool and sophisticated at the cost of making life more difficult, and expensive, for themselves. Competition may be hard in the US and one needs to find creative ways for marketing other than just creating great photography.
Now don’t bring up the music LP vs music CD comparison as there is no basis for comparison. As far as photography is concerned, the quality of the new digital media is much superior to what we used to be able to get on film. I can say this because I know film. I grew up with film and studied it at photography school. I have worked with film for almost fifteen years and I know what can be done with it. Never the less, film was fun. It had a charm and working in a darkroom was a wonderful thing. Exploring the old techniques is an important thing for the new generation of photographers, but I would not go so far as to go back to film.
Since film was so charming, and as we are all nostalgic in a way, we either start going back to using film for fun (or for marketing purposes), buying a Holga camera, get excited about the revival of the Polaroid film, or start using great apps to recreate the feel that we were so trying to avoid then. the old films used to have. Yesterday’s mistakes and faults are today’s style. One of the coolest cameras and film ever invented was of course the Polaroid SX-70.
For those of you who started their photography journey in the digital age the term Polaroid SX-70 might mean very little, but in 1972 when it was first introduced, this little SLR had created a wave that rippled through the photo industry. The legendary photographer Walker Evans had acquired an SX-70 in 1973 and began playing and experimenting with it. He first regarded it as a toy but later was so fascinated with the results that he ended up devoting the last fourteen months of his life almost exclusively to this gadget. Artists like Lucas Samaras and David Hockney had created incredible work with the SX-70 and the list can go on and on. Such was the impact of this camera, and a somewhat similar thing is happening today to many photographers who are using the iPhone. In a way, the Polaroid SX-70 and the original Sony Walkman — 70s and 80s-era products both touched the same desire to share experience that drives Web 2.0 today.
So, in the spirit of the SX-70, check out these few super cool desktop and iPhone apps:
POLADROID (http://www.poladroid.net/) is a desktop application that will easily transform your picture into an SX-70 look-alike. Very easy to use, just drag and drop, and you even get the delayed developing effect while you slowly see your image come to like. looks great!
On the iPhone, check out instagram that gives a really nice Holga and other vintage effect using a few selected filters.
Other photo apps I am using on my iPhone are: Chase Jarvis’s BestCamera and Photoshop for iPhone. I like mixing the filters of these apps so will often manipulate an image in one app and then use the manipulated image in the other and so on.
Please also have a look at the work of Lucas Samaras who has done incredible work with the original SX-70.