This photograph by Martin Parr was one of the first that made me stop to think and appreciate the picture. I wasn’t even that into photography at the time. I must have been about 16 or 17 when it caught my eye in the newspaper. So much so that I cut it out and placed it on my noticeboard dead centre in between giant posters of mountain bikes. A small three-inch tall black and white photo evoking calm and solitude amongst the garish saturated noise of action sports.
Film photography. I’m lucky/old enough to remember film well. I started out on my photographic adventures with my fathers Contax 139 and a few rolls of XP2 way back in 1998, taking photos of my friends mountain biking. Back then the only choice was what film to use, then the three day wait to see if what you’ve photographed actually turned out ok. Digital turned the photo-world upside down. It made the learning curve quicker and easier with instant feedback. It levelled the playing field and allowed everyone to be able to take a half-decent image.
Many were saying that digital would spell the end of film but it could never match up with the quality, spawning the ongoing film vs digital debate. Indeed, lots of film stocks have now been discontinued as companies make the shift into more profitable areas. However, in recent years film has started to have a resurgence. Is this simply nostalgia for a past golden age, or is this the start of a new, more sustainable chapter in the story of photography?