Photos from ScanFest
COLUMBUS--I have set up a quiet office down here in the great Buckeye State's capitol city, far away from the dust and noise of the construction zone atop which I have been living in Wooster. I have been traveling to an working in Central America, doing documentary and media work for several humanitarian relief organizations for nearly a decade. This decade has seen an amazing shift in photographic technology, moving with almost mind-numbing speed from film-based to digital equipment. When I first went to Honduras in 2001 digital cameras, of course, existed, but there was no comparison in their image quality, responsiveness and general abilities to good film cameras. On my first trips almost no one had digital cameras (and more or less the only available professional digital cameras were the Nikon D1 series (1, 1x and 1h) which priced in at about $5,000). Only a couple years later all the travelers were toting decent little digital point and shoots and using them as portable mini-slide shows to augment the, "So, where are you from, where have you been, where are you going, how long are you traveling for?" standard conversation. The con and pro-sumer SLR was still a few years off but no doubt a large number of those travelers are now toting those as well.
Over the years I have toted a wide variety of cameras and have never traveled without some film bodies, even as recently as a couple years ago. I have, pulling quickly from memory, used a Nikon FM, a Nikkormat (briefly as the light meter went bad), a Nikon F3, a Leica M6ttl, a Leica Mda, a Leica Mini and a Leica Digilux 1. I have used an Olympus Stylus Epic, a Nikon D1x, a Canon digital Elph, a Leica C-Lux, a Nikonos V and, oh yeah, a Sony Mavica and probably a few others not to mention a Panasonic VHS Reporter video camera and a Panasonic DVC 60 video camera.
I love film and will continue to use it, at least a little, because I am stubborn and have spent a lot of money on those Leicas (but don't have enough for an M9 right now) and I like the way it looks and I like the idea that every time I expose a frame it is changing just a little part of the universe forever. But I don't love all these hours I am spending at the desk scanning all those negatives to make digital files of them so they can be used in a practical way. Over those trips I shot hundreds of rolls of film and for a variety of reasons many of them have never adequately been used. I would get back and get on with the next assignment or the next assignment would involve heavy usage of a small portion of those negatives or, well, who knows. Suffice it to say that I took a lot of pictures I have never dealt with.
I am dealing with them now, however! And here are a few of them: