Mr Digital Buys A Rolleiflex f/2.8 FX
There’s no way to write about working with a Twin Lens Reflex film camera in 2015 without it being part of a personal story. So, with your brief indulgence - some background.
I’ve been doing photography professionally, commercially, as fine-art, and also as a teacher, writer and educator for more than 50 years. This makes me either an old fart, or someone with a modicum of experience, or both. I was also one of the early adopters and promoters of digital back in the mid-‘90’s, but by 2004 I had closed and subsequently sold my darkroom. I was 100% digital and have been ever since. Until now, that is - April, 2015.
Now, fast-forward from the late ‘60’s to mid March, 2015, and the plot thickens. Nick and I are walking the streets of Havana at least five hours a day, and are speaking a great deal about the whole issue of digital vs. analogue (film) and colour vs B&W. As the days pass, I realize something profound. I really miss the craft side of photography. I miss getting my hands wet. I miss loading a Nikor reel in the dark. I miss seeing an image slowly appear under a safe light, as if by magic.
Yes - I have mastered digital. I’ve been using Lightroom since it was code-named Shadowland, and have been a long-time Beta tester for Adobe. I have produced countless training videos and dozens of articles on digital image processing over the past 15 years or so. But I was also a competent colour and B&W darkroom worker and teacher for many decades, and I’ve recently come to the realization that I miss it. The whole messy, smelly thing.
Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape website. Since its inception in 1999 Luminous Landscape has become one of the world’s largest sites devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Mr. Digital, indeed…
If you ever got your hands wet, miss the smell of hypo or, alternately, wonder why anyone would go backwards and buy what is perhaps the ultimate film camera ever made in 2015, you should check this article out. It’s a more interesting sign of the impending apocalypse than a man running for president with a muskrat pelt on his head… ;D
Now if you’ll pardon me, I need to go load a roll of film in my Rolleicord III.