Monday, 14 July 2014

Film V Digital

In 1996 photographer Dirck Halstead took a relatively straightforward image of President Bill Clinton hugging an unkown female in a crowd. Two years later, when news of the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton affair became public Halstead's picture suddenly became important. It made the cover of Time magazine and won the Eisie Award for cover photography.

But first Halstead had to find the pic.

Halstead had a foggy recollection of photographing the president with that certain young woman two years previously. Halstead hired a researcher. Four days and 5,000 slides later the researcher located just ONE slide.

Whereas most other photographers had shot digitally and deleted tens of thousands of ordinary digital images Halstead had archived his film images at the University of Texas.  One story is that Halstead, in a public address, projected the image on a screen announcing:

  ' And this little piccy went to market'

On a  personal note, after more than 50 years behind the lens I believe in the 'shrouded memory' syndrome. I believe most photographers have clouded recollection of images they have taken, particularly people's faces.

The two requirements to safeguarding and utilising an important image are:
  • The image must still exist
  • You need some sort of filing system to locate the image
I still have almost every photograph I ever shot on film starting in 1959. I can locate the film negatives and view them within a matter of minutes. However, I have lost some digital images for one reason and another. Maybe I'm just a  little old-fashioned howeverI haven't got the same degree of confidence in digital as I have in film. 

If you have an interest or passion in film photography and film cameras check out my UWA Workshop 'Exploring Film Cameras'

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