Monday, August 30, 2004

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

I stand at the forefront of the digital revolution in my professional life and my artistic endeavors. But I also embrace the traditional techniques of photography and see their place as a specialty niche into the future. Economics, however often dictate other necessities and hard times have hit a number of companies that are specialized in film photography.

Recently there have been reports of Kodak stopping production of reusable film cameras and their film division has also been hard hit. Now it looks as if Ilford, the venerable maker of Black and White film and photographic papers will likely have to close their film division, though their Swiss division which produces inkjet papers appears viable and will survive the restructuring.

I have long been a fan of Ilford products and am particularly fond of some of their Black and White emulsions, particularly the FP4 and HP5 films. But this was inevitable. The digital revolution is here and more and more photographers, both professional and amateur are making the switch to a 100% digital workflow. I hope that traditional materials will continue to be produced, but I can't see any one company that can build their entire business around them. Before too many years it will be a niche market, providing materials to students, traditionalists, experimental artists and a few Luddites.

It is with a sense of inevitability and sadness that I write this, seeing as how I do my fair share to promote digital photography, but the magic of mixing up chemicals and seeing an image appear under the safe lights as they swirl around in the developer bath is a wondrous thing that budding photographers of the future may never know.

Read the UK Guardian:
Digital revolution threatens Ilford jobs.

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