Gloomy Day

Two bits of news have made today a gloomy one for at least some photographers. Particularly depressing for those staff photographers working for the Daily and Sunday Mirror. A post on Press Gazette states that six of the ten staff photographers working for the two titles are to lose their jobs.  After the cuts each paper will have just two staff photographers.  Only a few years ago even a small local paper would have as many if not more. The other Mirror Group national, The People, already runs without a single staff photographer.

Of course the papers still use photographs, but most of these will probably come from the mega-agencies and be increasingly generic images.  Increasingly there are more and more freelances around chasing fewer and fewer sales opportunities.  Bad news for all of us.

The other bit of gloom will only really affect those few photographers still using Fuji Sensia film. The BJP reports that all production of these ISO 100, 200 & 400 transparency films has stopped, although current stocks are expected to last until December.  It won’t affect many because they’ve only stopped making it because sales are too small.  Provia and Velvia remain in production.

I gave up using slide film (except when a client insisted on it) around 1985, when it seemed to me that colour negative film enabled me to produce better results. In the BJP article, Jonathan Eastland says he came to the same decision last year, when Kodak brought out its new Ektar 100, which has finer grain and more latitude than any reversal emulsion.  More or less the same reasons that drove me to the same conclusion 24 years earlier, although since we now all work with scanned images, the fact that it is far easier to get good scans from negative is also vital.

Transparency film was kept going in professional use for many years largely because editors could easily assess images on a light-box and repro technicians couldn’t be bothered to set up scanners for negative film. Once we started scanning our own and submitting digital files we could all see the advantages of negative.

Then of course came digital. And by the time we had 6Mp cameras like the Nikon D100 film of all types had really lost the battle for most purposes.

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