Memories. So my eldest daughter just turned 18 this weekend. I know….it’s hard to believe that someone as young looking as me, could have an eighteen year old daughter! 😉 Another milestone in the family marked. With her brother turning thirteen the day before – a house of teenagers now…13, 15 and 18.
But how to mark this? What about a book of photographs?
Photography is about capturing memories.
So a photo album, made by the same folk up in Yorkshire who craft together wedding albums for me. Not cheap but a product that will last. A book of some of my photographs of Oli, from the very first picture taken of her – as my wife held her for the first time. To some snatched images taken just a few weeks ago. A subject who long ago, looked to avoid the camera. Now I’m under no illusion that an eighteen year old will be overjoyed with such a book. That’s not the point. In years to come, I know that she will come to see the value in it. It’s why I’m writing this blog post here – the value of photography is the same when capturing a wedding day. Not for on the day, not for the next day or following week but in many years to come, that is where the value of good photography lies. Capturing memories. Saving a couple of £100 now, as you choose a wedding photographer, could be a very false economy in the long run. One you would certainly regret. The wedding photographer is a supplier who isn’t working for the day – not like the florist, the make up artist, the chef or the band. No-one can see their true value on the day. No-one can see what they do on the day. They see the value of good ones in later years. When a story has been captured well…capturing memories.
But back to this book. A slightly smaller option to the standard wedding album, 10″x10″. A fine art version, so images printed onto the page, with no mounts, with a carbon coloured cotton cover. So, the first picture taken of my daughter…. April 1999, Chelsea and Westminster hospital, London, starts the book. Shot on film.
I made up the whole book with just B&W images. Partly as it’s my favorite medium and because the images were from a mix of sources. A mix of film and digital, B&W and colour and from a wide variety of cameras. The colour on early digital cameras wasn’t great frankly. From this first image above, taken on a Contax G2 camera – an autofocus ‘rangefinder’ with Zeiss glass – on Kodak Tri-X film. Then the last two images in the book – see below – taken on a Leica M-240MP digital rangefinder camera. Such a camera was a dream fantasy in 1999.
Over that period, I’ve gone through a lot of cameras. From film to digital. To create the book I had to trawl through boxes of old transparencies and negatives and scan them in on my Epson V850. Then it was trawling through the old hard drives for the digital files. Some images I didn’t find, some images I only found after sending the design off. A shame, as there were a few images that I would have liked to have added to the design.
My original intention was for one picture per page, but I soon found there were too many images I wanted to include, so I went for a design similar to a wedding album, with images of varying sizes.
Here are a few…
From film to digital, over 18 years.
The book doesn’t just document my daughter over her first eighteen years, it also highlights the change in photography in that time. The rise of digital photography. The first image in the book taken on a digital camera, is the one of Olivia dressed as a smiley witch. (see above) Just from the images that made the final design, it’s quite a list of cameras used over the years….
(film) Contax G2, Canon EOS1n, Leica M7, Nikon F5, Hasselblad 503CW, Mamiya 6MF, Hasselblad Xpan,
(digital) Nikon D1X, Nikon D100, Canon Powershot G3, Canon 1D MKII, Canon 5D, Leica M8, Canon 1D MKIII, Canon 1DS MKIII, Canon Powershot S90, Fuji X100, Fuji X100S, Canon Powershot D20, Nikon D4, Fuji X100T and a Leica M240 M-P.
But it’s really about the images. Maybe I should taken more, certainly there are groans in this house if a camera is spotted pointing in their direction. You can track the aversion to the camera as the years go by. I found most of the negatives and transparencies I was looking for, in both the large filing cabinet in my office and the boxes in the attic. Some were missing though. Maybe they’ll appear one day? With digital, I have multiple backups in various hard drives but there are gaps, from those early digital years 2001 to 2003. And I have a good system. But still drives fail. It’s where actually printing the images properly is so important. I try to explain to wedding couples, the delivery method of a usb stick may disappear soon, just as the dvd disc did. Digital images can get lost as technology moves on. Technology changes, equipment dies – data gets lost. But a well printed image, in a book or on the wall – that’s the best way of preserving memories! Not just for yourself but for future generations. Hopefully, one day, Olivia’s great-grandchildren will have this book to look through?
That’s the value in photography – capturing memories. That’s it’s value.
I know I need to print more myself…