Monday, January 26, 2015

Analog Life

When the digital camera was first available to the consumer, some argued that film would die. Some film users scoffed at the idea and reminded the digital camera users that they said no one would paint pictures anymore when the camera was first invented. It's 2015 and people still paint portraits, landscapes and still life.

It's likely easier to produce paint than it is to continue to manufacture film for a shrinking customer base; however there are those who have learned the hard way that negatives and printed photographs tend to both be a bit more reliable than those digital files on that blasted corrupted hard drive that you never got around to backing up.

It's no easy task to continue to obtain more storage space for your digital files, back up your files, upgrade your storage devices as technology advances and repeat.

P&S Zine puts an effort in to seeing photos in print. One can resort to old fashioned copy and paste and take their photos to their local copy shop to make their zines. A much respected way of going about it. Of course there is a sacrifice in the quality of the end product when using that method.

So the irony around here when it comes to making zines instead of just prints is that I scan either printed photos or the original negatives in to a digital file, so that they can be sent to the printer to print. Sounds simple right?

Not at all. As I mentioned earlier, I prefer a higher quality printed copy.

First I needed to start with a good scanner. There was a huge gap between mediocre and something only a professional lab could afford, so I started with putting a Nikon Coolscan on lay-away when they were close to obsolete, but still selling for about $1,200. That was in 2008.

I was like a kid at Christmas when I paid that scanner off, brought it home and started archiving the archives.

Unfortunately not too long after, I was out of running out of storage space and memory. It was time for a new computer, so I upgraded to an iMac in 2009. That was when things got complicated.

The scanner and the iMac were never that friendly to begin with, but I made the mistake of upgrading the OS on my Mac. Nikon no longer supported their $1,200 scanner and therefore the scanner was about to become a very expensive paper weight.

Option? Expensive 3rd party scanner software that didn't work as well or create the user friendly .NEF files that the Nikon software did. I tried it and wasn't happy with the results. That's why it was handy to hang to hang on to the old Dell laptop running Windows XP.

That's right... I scan the negatives using an ancient laptop, just to be able to import them on to the now 6 year old iMac, to be able to edit and clean up the photos using the very expensive Adobe Software, so they can be imported in to Adobe InDesign, exported as a .pdf and sent out to some server in the cloud, so it can come back in the form as printed matter that you can hold in your hands.

Ok, so that's all settled now right? Ready for print or perhaps posting some archives on this blog? Not yet!

Some of these negatives are almost 30 years old, so condition can be a big issue. Often they look like they've been dragged around behind my skateboard in the rain. Yes, they're stored in plastic sleeves!

An example of the original scan of Dave Grohl from 1988 use for the story I did on Scream awhile back.

After well over an hour of clean up efforts; the finished product...

Here's another example of Big Boys shot by Doug Humiski in the early to mid eighties.

The final product used for a feature on Doug and his work in P&S Zine Issue 3.

I do what I do, because I love it. It just happens to be a labour of love sort of thing, because it can be very labour intensive.

Now it's time to dig in to the Jon Schledewitz archives for P&S Zine Issue 4! Stoked!

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