Saturday, 9 February 2008

A day in the darkroom

As wonderful as digital photography is, I don't think that there is any substitute for silver halide and celluloid when it comes to black & white photography, particularly when you do your own developing and printing. I've been out and about shooting film the last few mornings and I've spent most of today in my 'darkroom' (a blacked-out bathroom actually) processing the film and making prints. And I'm pleased with the results.

Nothing ever quite takes away the thrill as you see the image appear on the paper in front of your eyes; it still seems like magic. So why the picture of the camera? Well, I've had it for 35 years now - it's a very early (non-motordrive) OM, and it's never let me down; a reminder of just how wonderful a camera made from little other than metal and glass can be. The dictum that form follows function is ably illustrated by the mechanical SLR, particularly with the wonderfully brutish, indestructible Nikon F, but Olympus produced a design masterpiece of their own with the OM-1, a camera which in size and ease of use matched the Leica rangefinder; and which achieved a glorious and perfectly balanced aesthetic in it's design that was a satisfying counterbalance to that of the Nikon.

And most of all my OM-1 (no. 167667) is here because it's a friend; trusty and reliable. Mr Maitani, thank you.

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