What's in your Cupboard?

One of the biggest criticisms of the explosive rise digital photography is that the national archive will suffer as a result of images sitting quietly on countless hard drives and other storage media, unseen and doomed to obliteration.

I'm not so sure the 'problem' is any more real than in the days of film. There must be countless photographers like me who have finished a roll of film and thrown it into a drawer to be processed another day, or, also like me, quite often not processed at all. 

The films I have treated in this way should at least be given the courtesy of realising their latent potential, so I'll work through them from time to time to see what I come up with.  I must have had a reason for making the images in the first place, so I'll call it an ongoing project.

I can remember making these four images for starters, they were all locally captured on Ilford XP2 Super, now sadly discontinued and lost to those of us who once used it.  The camera was my Leica MP and the lenses were either 35mm f2 Summicron asph or the astonishing f1 Noctilux.  I use the adjective deliberately, the Noctilux is astonishing.  In most ways it behaves like a pig, and then, suddenly, it creates an image the like of which you won't create with any other lens.

No prizes for guessing which is the Nocti image, and yes it was taken at the full aperture of f1.  The plane of acceptable focus is about half the depth of the book on the table.

Oddly in the current world of photography, that lens is now worth about twice what I paid for it new, around 6 or 7 years ago.  I doubt the same appreciation in value will happen with my Nikon digital stuff!


David Lintern said…
that first image is incredible, looks like a painting. agreed on the film cupboard, i have a mass of film and slides to go through, and never get round to looking through them. My dad has a lifetime of scrapbooks about waist high that he is struggling to digitize even selectively - now that's a family archive!
Steve Walton said…
Thank you, David. That archive of your Dad's is priceless. Look after it!
Dave Hanlon said…
I'm quite surprised by that criticism. I would have thought that the digital age, with Flickr, Photobucket, Picassa and such like together with creative commons liscencing, that there are far more images "out there" than ever before. I now take immesurably more images than I ever did with film. Whilst many of those images are indeed tied up on various hard drives a fair proportion of them are uploaded and freely accessible to anybody who may be interested. My film on the other had is quietly collecting dust in my spare room.
Steve Walton said…
Thanks, Dave. It is something that was often said earlier in the digital era, but I agree that there is now a great interest in posting images on the internet via the sharing media you mention. The interesting thing is the rise in popularity of social documentary or 'street' photography. It was never as popular before the rise of digital. That can't be a bad thing.
steve said…
Hi, old post, I know. But I wanted to say that Ilford XP2 Super isn't discontinued.