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A photographic method and a career, in the rear view mirror


Portrait of the blogger as a young hack

I've been scanning again. One of my redundancy resolutions has been to use my sudden increase in available free time to catch up on some projects, including the digitisation of my own negatives and old family photos. 

The image to the right comes from a set of negatives I shot as a university student – probably in the spring of 1993, although exact dating is hard. I'm not quite sure who took the photo of me above – but I do know they took it with my camera.

The thing that has really struck me about this film in particular is how darn grainy it is. Honestly, I'm not sure if that's an inherent characteristic of the film – Ilford HP5 Plus – or some poor darkroom discipline on my part, effectively "push processing" shots that didn't need it. 

Or, am I now so used to using digital photography (which I've been doing since late 2001) that I've forgotten how much grain was an inherent quality of silver halide photos? I suspect the coming weeks of scanning will answer that question one way or another.

The other thought that occured to me was that, as these photos from the student magazine office remind me, I'm not involved in the production of a journalistic periodical in any way for the first time since probably 1987. School magazines, student newspapers, my professional journalistic career… It's been over two decades of continuous involvement brought to an abrupt end by redundancy.

And you know what? I'm amazed by how little it's affected me. Perhaps sometime in the last year I passed the point where I'm truly more a blogger – an online content afficicnado – than a journalist.

Where does that take me next?

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  1. Tom Morris

    Well, HP5 is comparatively grainy compared to the tabular-grain films like T-MAX, Delta, Neopan and so on. Back when I did more film, I quickly switched to the T-grain films as the graininess was a bit more subtle and you could enlarge bigger without the grain being so much of an issue.

    Of course, in digital land, we just have noise, which, unlike grain, I cannot get used to at all.


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