Richard Man – Photography and Calligraphy

May 13, 2009

Salgado and Film

Filed under: photography — Tags: , , — richard @ 11:53 pm

This is one of the projected images in the Salgado talk. Camera shakiness, bad contrast etc. are mine. The image of course belongs to Mr. Salgado. This image also appears on Page 305 of his Africa book and may appear in his yet to be released Genesis project.  Buy the book, it’s worth it.

He has a retrospective opening this Thursday in Berkeley and I hope to make it there and possibly get some photos of Mr. Salgado. I was sitting a billion seats away at the talk so I look forward to the gallery opening.

So why shoot film in this day and age? Certainly if I am shooting an event (a concert or a wedding, for example), I’d grab my Olympus E-3 and the 35-100/2 lens and have a field day. OTOH, I like panoramic and the XPan is one of the best cameras for panormaic (sadly, there probably never be a Xpan digital 😦 ).

Yes, some digital cameras allow multiple output format, e.g. the new Olympus E-620 can output 16:9 without any loss of resolution, but some of us just love the smell of the fixer in the morning, so what to do?

The current technology and the exodus to digital actually makes this hybrid process relatively easy and affordable. If you shoot 35mm, then get yourself a Nikon LS-4000 and a roll film adapter, which can be found for ~$700-$800, and you can bulk scan a roll without attention in an hour or so. If you have good negative developing process and minimize dust specks, then the whole process is not a whole lot more difficult than digital.

For XPan workflow, I scan in strips on a flatbed using the transparency light source. This allows me to have the equivalence of contact sheet. Any image that I want to scan large, I use the LS-8000 with the GH-896R glass carrier with a mask for the XPan negative. The above shot in the waiting area of the Salgado talk shows the strength of XPan panoramic – you can do reportage style panoramic even in a low light situation  (Neopan 1600 F4 @ 1/20) that is just not possibly with photo stitching. F4 is pretty slow, but the whole set up is lightweight and with a ISO 1600 film like Neopan, immensely usable.

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