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Analogue film, alternative, hybrid and darkroom

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Editorial

Contents

Welcome to the first issue of Analogue, the newsletter of the Analogue special interest group! We aim to publish Analogue three times per year, in February, June, and November, and to have a theme for each. For this issue of Analogue, we are looking at the analogue ‘landscape’, figuratively and literally. What is the state of the non-digital image-making today? Materials manufacturer Harman Technology (perhaps better known as Ilford) reveal the results of a survey, and two equipment dealers, The Real Camera Company and West Yorkshire Cameras, give their views. We also take a look at The Photography Show, held at the NEC in March, to see what was there to support or to tempt users to film. Finally, we have not forgotten images! Keith Moss, who uses film and prints in a darkroom regularly in his work, shares his thoughts about analogue today. Keep up to date in the Analogue world by using the Group’s website. Here is space for your images plus a Forum for your comments on the articles in Analogue and any other discussion related to analogue photography. There is also the Blog for your thoughts, and a list of Group events. The first two merit special mention: On 27 June, there is a Workshop at the University of Westminster (Harrow Campus), and in December we plan to hold an exhibition of Group members’ work in Fenton House.

2 Profile

6 Industry

Analogue Group

Photographer Keith Moss shares his passion for using film and the darkroom with his photography of the great outdoors.

David Healey and Richard Bradford have a day out at The Photography Show – relevant to analogue users?

Vice-chair: Dr Afzal Ansary ASIS FRPS

4 Industry

8 Industry

What’s the deal with analogue?

E: analogue@rps.org

Harman Technology surveyed a sample of analogue photogaphers – what does this tell Stephen Brierley about the photographers and of the industry?

Richard Bradford discusses the camera market with two respected photographic dealers – are any bargains left?

Secretary: Andy Moore LRPS

Keith Moss

It’s all about film

The Photography Show

Treasurer: Peter Young LRPS Events: Steven Godfrey

Editor:

Richard Bradford ARPS Designer: Simon W Miles E: analogue.news@rps.org

So, although we are the newest special-interest group and our interests stretch back to the beginnings of photography, we hope that Analogue will you show that ‘Old ain’t dead’.

The Royal Photographic Society Fenton House, 122 Wells Rd, Bath BA2 3AH

Finally, Analogue also welcomes your own contributions. In the first instance, please contact analogue@rps.org. Richard Bradford ARPS Editor

Chair: David Healey ARPS

T: +44 (0)1225 325733 E: reception@rps.org W: www.rps.org

cover: Isle of Skye, right: Rowing boat, both by Keith Moss.

Analogue ➤ EDITORIAL

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Profile

➤P Keith Moss – My Love of Analogue Photography I have been a professional photographer for the past 30 years, but I have slowed down a bit and now work mainly in street photography which I love. I also teach through my own workshops and courses and occasionally lecture at colleges and universities. My love of analogue photography, in particular black and white, has not diminished since I started learning my craft all those years ago. In fact it is a bit like a successful marriage – I have grown to love it more and more as the years have passed and my skill has developed. But I also live in a world where to earn a living as a professional you have to shoot digitally; it is just what is required.

W: keithmoss.co.uk E: Info@keithmoss.co.uk

Shooting digitally I do find soulless. What I mean by that is that I find I do not pay as much attention to the subject matter as I do when I am using film. I press the shutter far too much – even though I know I have got the shot I still keep going, my thoughts are instant, I am in the moment and not thinking about the process. It is a bad habit I know and many of us who shoot digitally do the same.

left: Rowing boat, below: Smugglers’ paradise.

For me post-production, sitting at a computer, needs to be avoided as this is not a pleasure but a chore. It is so time consuming deleting loads of images I have taken, just because I could. Having said that, I do still shoot like I would with a film camera, meaning getting it right in the camera, still believing that getting it right first time is the right thing to do. Analogue ➤ PROFILE

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Profile

clockwise from top left: Roots,

➤P

Isle of Skye,

instinctively know how I am going to capture it. What setting I’m going to use in the camera, which filters to use, if any, how I am going to process the film, what chemistry I am going to use. Then into the darkroom, thinking about how I am going to print it, the choice of paper, what grade I am going to dial into the enlarger and so on. It is a much more engaging and rewarding process and the finished print, especially if I have printed it on fibre-based paper, still makes me smile, warms my heart and gives me a sense of pride and fulfilment.

On the other hand shooting film makes me connect to my subject matter in a more profound way – somehow it is more important, it feeds my soul. Time slows down, I feel everything around me, my senses are heightened, excitement and anticipation flow through my veins. My thought process is different: I have the finished image in my head beforehand and

Analogue ➤ PROFILE

Hadrian’s Wall,

Swimming pool,

all by Keith Moss.

With all of the technical advancement in the digital process and the vast array of papers available nowadays there is still nothing out there that comes close to a fibre-based darkroom print in my opinion. It really is a thing of beauty, a piece of art, a moment in time that is preserved in a very special way.

So you may ask, ‘Am I still as passionate about film as I always was? Hell, yes!’

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Industry

➤ I It’s all about film Steven Brierley Harman Technology Ltd. As a major manufacturer of photographic film and paper, in November 2014 Harman Technology set out to understand the motivation behind the continuing popularity, even growth, of film. There were and are continuing reports in the media about the resurgence in film and parallels to other ‘artisan products’, such as vinyl records (for example ‘Film is back...‚‘ in GQ and ‘Film didn’t die...‚‘ in the FT). Finally, there was a need to better appreciate the motivation of a new users who have adopted film over the past 5 years.

Harman Technology’s survey sought to get an overall picture of the analogue photographic world in two broad areas:

1. The general interest in analogue photography, as shown by online user groups and followers. 2. The age distribution of all users and those who have been using film for 5 years or less (‘New users’)

In addition, the survey asked six more specific questions related to materials, processing, and cameras:

3. What type of film do you use? 4. What attracted you to film? 5. Where did you learn the skills? 6. How do you process the film? 7. Are you happy with the results? 8. Which camera(s) do you use?

I am pleased to share the key points of Harman’s results with the Analogue group. They have encouraged us in our work, and hope they will do the same for you. ‘The general interest in analogue photography:’ The survey of online sources revealed about 29% were ‘new’ to analogue photography – see box for detail.

‘The general interest in analogue photography:’ The survey of online sources gave the following results for all users: Analogue Photo Users Group:

598

Ilfordphoto.com Facebook Followers:

713

Ilfordphoto Twitter Followers:

464

Holga camera user group:

75

Lomo camera user groups:

238

Tutors UK Photo Education:

63

Concerning ‘The age distribution of users’, just under 80% of all users were aged 54 or less. The same age range covered 99% of new users – in fact nearly 90% are no older than 44. From this we can see that the film market is not an older group of practitioners, but also attracts a younger generation. ‘What type of film do you use?’ Not surprisingly, most users shoot both colour and black-and-white, with a slightly higher Analogue ➤ INDUSTRY

left: Ilford by Ilford Photo.

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Industry

proportion (three-quarters) among new users. Correspondingly, in the all users group, blackand-white only was slightly higher (just under a third) compared to a quarter of new users. Colour alone only attracted a small number, 1 in 50 of both groups. What film sizes? As expected, too, 35mm dominated both groups (over 90% of users). Nevertheless, 120 roll film was not far behind, with 86% of all users and 77% of newcomers using the format. However, the biggest surprise was the interest in sheet film, perhaps representing the ‘craft’ and time needed to get results. Among all users, 40% used sheets, while 24% (yes, nearly a quarter) of new users did so. So much for numbers. Replies from new users to the question ‘What attracted you to film?’ included these reasons: • The physicality of film; it gives a feeling of ‘belonging’ to the process (of image-making): • The ‘retro’ aspect; • The fun of mechanical cameras and doing my own processing and printing. It’s a much more subtle process. The slower pace helped refine my photographic skills, for instance in composition; • I bought (or found my Dad’s!) old Pentax and thought I’d give it a try. It gave me an excuse to try photography and now I’m shooting 1-2 rolls per week; • The quality of some old cameras, and the results they produce, is better than more modern digital ones. I am disenchanted with digital; • Using film gives me a link to my family’s history – re-living old memories. The desire to use film is one thing, but doing it well is another. Analogue ➤ INDUSTRY

The responses to ‘Where did you learn the skills?’ gave the following results: Among all users, nearly 90% were self-taught, from books and/or the internet. Nearly 80% of new users did the same. Going through some kind of photography course (full or part-time) was slightly more popular among all users (a little more than onethird), in comparison to about a quarter of new users. Similar numbers had learnt from a parent or friend. This left photographic clubs, which had a modest following as a source of tuition, about 10% of all users and slightly less among new ones. After learning how to use the camera, the next big question is ‘How do you process the film?’ About three quarters of both groups did their own film processing. Nearly a half of all users also used a darkroom for printing. Rather fewer new users (38%) did the same, but in this group a higher proportion (about 1 in 4) scanned the film and uploaded the results (1 in 6 of all users did so).

Nikon 30%). These were closely followed by Olympus and Pentax (35mm), only slightly ahead of Holga. The latter appeals to a new and nontraditional market.

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Mamiya is by far the most popular roll-film camera, and appears in the top 5 in both group’s choices, rivalling Canon or Nikon. The high proportion using sheet film is also reflected in the cameras used – 34% of all users, and even 20% of new users. In both groups, too, there is a strong following for instant films, Polaroid being roughly twice as popular as Fuji’s Instax, at about 1 in 6 users. Naturally, Harman Technology is very pleased to see such the interest in traditional photographic methods continuing. It is particularly encouraging too that interest is being passed on to a new generation of photographers, and even being taken up by new groups. This should give confidence to existing and potential users to give film a try. It is clearly a satisfying process and worth investing time, effort, and if needs be only a little cash.

Using a lab for printing from self-processed film accounted for only 1% or 2% of users, while around 5% used a lab for film processing and printing. Labs, though, were more popular for scanning (11% of all users, 15% of new users). Whatever the means of using film, the vast majority (95% or more of users) declared themselves happy with the result. Finally, ‘Which camera do you use?’ The results named practically every make of camera – well over 40 in both groups. Perhaps predictably, results of all users showed the popularity of Nikon (40%) and Canon (31%), although among new users the order was reversed (Canon 35%,

References for media articles: Ager, S. (2015) ‘Film didn’t die with Kodak’s Chapter 11’. London: Financial Times Available; W: http://video.ft.com/3959591909001/Film-didnt-die-with-KodaksChapter-11/life-and-arts Horaczek, S. (2014) ‘Film is back! The best film cameras and how to use them’. London: gq.com (UK) Available; W: www.gq.com/services/201411/how-to-buy-afilm-camera#slide=1 *Harman Technology Ltd. W: www.harmantechnology.com T: 01565 650000

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Industry

➤ I The Photography Show NEC, Birmingham, 21-24 March 2015 Richard Bradford ARPS and David Healey ARPS There is something invigorating when looking for new equipment or materials, and a certain curiosity is aroused when re-visiting a oncefamiliar area. Nevertheless, there is potential for disappointment when finding old ‘landmarks’ have moved or have disappeared completely. The Photography Show held at the NEC in March gave an opportunity to see whether there was anything for the user in the analogue world of photography. With the field seemingly dominated by digital gadgetry–the Show’s organisers, Future, themselves publish digitally-oriented magazines – what was there to see? The major camera manufacturers naturally had their presence, often with guest speakers who have spent a working lifetime perfecting their familiarity with the equipment so that they could concentrate on the image. Let’s not forget that many Analogue ➤ INDUSTRY

of the features beloved by action photographers (auto-focus and motor-wind rapid exposures) have both been around for the last 40 years, and cameras had started to have built-in exposure control for a decade longer – all long before image sensors replaced film. Today’s photographer looking for a new film camera still has a choice at both the high- and low price ends, but rather less in the middle. Before going any further, it must be said that price does not necessarily reflect the quality of images nor the pleasure experienced in producing them or looking at the results. Starting at the lower end, we have Lomography, the company who successfully revived much of the Russian (former Soviet) camera industry and who have also developed their own products. Their film range includes pinhole, wideangle, and kit cameras,

as well as a model taking Instax ‘instant’ film. No mention of instant imaging would be complete without The Impossible Project, who now produce film for the Polaroid camera range. Showing any interest in their products resulted in an offer to have your photo taken and to take it away as a souvenir. Surprisingly simple, and you might wonder why all the digital paraphernalia on display did not or could not offer the same. At the top (some might call it exotic) end of the market, there were three very different contenders. In large-format,

far left: Tetenal chemicals by GNU, top left: Holga 120 SF by Bilby, middle left: TMax P3200 by Mariuszjbie, bottom left: Rolleiflex by Halley Pacheco de Oliveira, all images: Wikimedia Commons.

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Linhof Studio are still producing their technical and monorail models, and will also be happy to supply the Alpa range which takes roll-film. Even more synonymous with medium format is Rolleiflex, who not only still manufacture their iconic TLRs but do so with a choice of wide-angle, standard, or longfocus lenses. The Rolleiflex stand also displayed models back to the 1930s. Last but not least, Leica showed their current 35mm M7 body and lenses compatible with their more recent digital couple-rangefinder bodies. But what about the middle ground once occupied by the likes of Mamiya and Bronica for roll-film, or Pentax in 35mm? Sadly, almost nothing. The only ray of light was shining on the Voigtländer stand, a brand name from the 19th century still producing the Bessa 35mm couple-rangefinder body and various lenses although no longer produced in Germany. These share Leica’s M bayonet fitting, giving interchangeability between these and other brands. Turning to materials, notable by their absence were Kodak Alaris and Harman Technology (Ilford), although their products could be found on other exhibitors’ stands. For chemistry, Tetenal and Fotospeed were the only companies with anything to show.

lights, filters, bags) can be used just as well with film as for digital, with the bonus of being able to feel the image. In summary, for the analogue photographer, the show was rather an anticlimax. The visitor could certainly handle equipment and digital printers were impressively showing how good they can be, but there was nowhere to load a film, never mind make a print–in other words to ‘feel’ the image being produced. The organisers have certainly received feedback and suggestions on how to broaden the appeal of their show to potential or actual analogue users. Until we see whether they take the hint, perhaps it would be fair to brand the event A Photography Show.

Links and phone numbers* for products mentioned in this article: Epson W: www.epson.com T: 01952 607111 Fotospeed W: www.fotospeed.com T: 01249 714555 Harman Technology (Ilford) W: www.ilfordphoto.com T: 01565 650000

For those of us with feet in both analogue and digital camps, Epson and Plustek had their film scanners on display. The former’s V850 is a conventional flatbed which can be converted with film holders and a second light source. Plustek’s scanners, on the other hand, are film-only, which (arguably) produces higher-quality scans.

Kitschretro W: www.rarecamerafilms.myshopify.com T: none available

There were a couple of surprises. Perhaps the oddest was Kitschretro selling ‘rare and expired’ unexposed film, while The Disabled Photographers Society attracted a lot of punters rummaging through assorted (very) used cameras and lenses plus other accessories.

Lomography W: www.lomography.com T: none available

Two product categories were missing from the show. First was darkroom equipment for film and paper processing. No developing tanks or dishes, drying cabinets or enlargers, thermometers or clocks. To find these needs online searching. Second, was a mid-range medium-format camera, preferably with interchangeable lenses. Have these succumbed to the hype about medium format quality now obtainable from (full-frame) 35mm digital imaging? Given their former popularity, there must be cupboards full of such cameras and lenses (the writer’s included!) waiting for resurrection. As the Analogue Group hopes to show, there has never been a better time to do so! In fact, for the newcomer almost all of the peripherals (tripods, Analogue ➤ INDUSTRY

➤ I

Kodak Alaris W: www.kodakalaris.com T: 0870 8502351 Leica W: www.leica.com T: 020 7629 1351 (Leica Store Mayfair) Linhof Studio W: www.linhofstudio.com T: 01702 716116 Plustek W: www.plustek.com T: 01952 210280 Rolleiflex W: www.dhw-fototechnik.de T: +49 (0) 531 6800 348 (Germany) Tetenal W: www.tetenaluk.com T: 0116 289 3644 The Disabled Photographers Society W: www.disabledphotographers.co.uk T: none available The Impossible Project W: www.the-impossible-project.com T: 020 7087 9314 (The Photographers’ Gallery Bookshop – Official Impossible Partner Store) Voigtländer W: www.flaghead.co.uk/products/voigtlander.html T: 01202 733123 Phone numbers are for the UK, unless otherwise stated.

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➤ I What’s the deal with analogue? Richard Bradford ARPS In our survey of the analogue landscape, we asked two well-known used-equipment dealers in the north of England about their views. Our thanks to The Real Camera Company* in Manchester, and West Yorkshire Cameras** in Leeds. Their thoughtful responses are summarised below. Confidence: Why should anyone – digital user or not – use film and / or have a darkroom? As film is no longer a mainstream commercial tool, there have to be other reasons for its continued existence. Film is also now more expensive than digital – a reversal of the early days. In the overall image, there are photographers (or their clients) who simply prefer the aesthetic look of film – grain is preferable to noise – and film is able to hold detail over a greater dynamic range. Film formats are also larger than digital, giving scope for shallow depth-of-field. However, beginning at the taking stage, analogue photography imposes thought and discipline on the user of how to use the controls in order to get the desired image. Experience gradually builds up trust in the user’s judgement. This is essential in order to increase the chances of success: number of shots is limited, either in quick succession or after, at the most, 36 exposures and it is not possible to see the result shortly after capture. Then there is the incremental cost every time the film is exposed. Analogue ➤ INDUSTRY

Darkroom work is nowadays even less popular than using film. Some users are happy to process their film but then scan the results and do further processing in, for example, Lightroom. Those users who do still print using traditional methods are perhaps seeking archival permanence or the ‘look’ of toning in rare metals, or even paying homage to their ancestors or in deference to famous photographers of the past. As space in modern households often at a premium, the motivation needed to convert a room or even have a permanent darkroom is much higher, and possibly linked to attaining a certain level of competence. However, even the basic skills of judging exposure and contrast together with cropping, burning and dodging can produce an image matching or exceeding those produced with innumerable software tools. Digital processing cannot replace the tactile experience and ‘magic’ of seeing the image develop in a dish.

Highs and lows: What is popular or not? The Lomo renaissance took many by surprise as selling such a basic camera seemed to run counter to the general trend of ever more technically capable results. The same could be said about Polaroid, yet for this and Fuji’s Instax, yet there’s an insatiable demand. For many users – students and other photographers – the cost of materials is a concern. Economies in film can be made by doing your own processing as well as purchasing short- or even slightly outdated stock, with little practical effect. ‘Cheap’ film, though, is increasingly hard to come by (‘Lucky’ from China has been discontinued). Once the mainstay of any darkroom, 8x10 inch paper now ranges in price from £60 to over £100 for 100 sheets, depending on the base (RC or FB). The cheaper slide film is a hit, and anything Ilford is popular.

far left: Olympus Trip 35 by Hiyotada, left: Nikon FM2 by Johann from Turku, overleaf left: Canon AE1 by unknown, overleaf right: Pentax K1000 by Michele Ferrario, all images: Wikimedia Commons.

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Industry have usurped the once essential 135mm tele in any outfit. Unfortunately, those asking for these extreme optics do not always seem to appreciate what they are buying or why. Likewise the desire to mount older optics onto modern DSLRs is not always possible. It is not possible to generalise by age or gender, although rather more than two-thirds are likely to be male and all would have to have enough disposable income to cover the costs. Wish list: Is there a demand which cannot be fulfilled from current sources?

Generally, retro sells, especially if it’s easy to use: think early Canons (AE-1), Olympus Trip 35 and Pentax K1000, together with (Kyocera) Contax T cameras and Yashicas. In contrast, there is little demand for early modern AF SLRs or point-andshoot cameras. The venerable Zeiss Tessar is still able to hold its place among more ‘advanced’ products. At the top end of the market, connoisseurs seek out Leica and Rolleiflex. Interest in the latter was spurred from the film Finding Vivian Maier.

Analogue is part of the digital world, and many practitioners use both. They can be choosy when looking for old cameras. Manual Nikons (FM2s) and Canons (A1s) are preferred over their autofocus counterparts. And there is still Leica.

Then there are the prime-lens compacts for street photography – a 35mm f/2.8 on, for example, an Olympus Mju II gives excellent results and is waterproof, too. A reasonably-priced (£500) compact with a good lens would sell well. Modern flashguns, capable of working with digital cameras, do not appear often in the used market. There are plenty of older units, but these are dangerous to a modern camera’s electronics. Buying off-brand is a way to save money, and can be just as good as a Nikon or Canon. The heyday of film may be past, but it is unlikely to disappear with the younger generation taking an interest in it. * The Real Camera Company W: www.realcamera.co.uk T: 0161 907 3236 ** West Yorkshire Cameras W: www.wycameras.com T: 0113 246 0868

The Analogue Group was formed in 2015. Membership of the Group is open to all Society members at an additional subscription of £15.00 per annum. This inclues the Analogue which is published three times per annum.

Copyright: The copyright of individual articles and images belongs to the contributor, unless otherwise stated. Copyright in the Analogue newsletter belongs to The Royal Photographic Society ©June 2015. Disclaimer: The views expressed in the Analogue newsletter are, unless otherwise noted, those of the individual contributors. They are not necessarily those of the Analogue Group or of The Royal Photographic Society. This includes articles from a contributor who is also a committee member or Society employee.

Trends: What is changing, either increasing or decreasing? It has taken some getting used to that film is not only still around but can be processed and printed. As shown in the appearance of modern digital cameras, there is a market for retro-(looking) products. The standard-bearer was and is Leica, courtesy of names such as Cartier-Bresson. However the (early) screw-mount and SLR systems are now only sought-after by specialists. Classic cameras have also become fashion icons adorning fashion accessories. Wide- or even super-wide angle lenses (20mm or less) Analogue ➤ INDUSTRY

The Royal Photographic Society was founded in 1853 to “promote the art and science of photography”.

Contact details: Editor: Richard Bradford Design: Simon W Miles ©2015

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