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My last piece of film shot on my Toyo field camera circa March 2003. I couldn’t know at the time just how monumental the change would be from film to digital. I’m not sure how many people could have. But I did have some idea as I remember thinking to myself how I could define myself within this new technology and how it would work as a new tool that would forever change how we create images. I long for the days where we would make a picture with one piece of film. I guess in some ways, I still hold on to that idea even in this digital age looking for all of the elements to come together at just the right moment to make the picture. Not that pictures were ever truth tellers, but with digital all notions of truth have been wiped from the visual replaced with tricks and tweaks to bend the light within the images into positions that would impress even the most double jointed of us.

I took my old Toyo camera out of the box a couple of months ago and shot some B&W film. It was fun cleaning and loading the sheets into the film holders, marking them so I knew what was in there. Carried it around in my backpack and even shot some pieces of film. It was like just yesterday as I mounted it on the tripod, focused and took the shot freaking out that I couldn’t check the histogram but relying on my light meter and knowledge of how light works (some things never change). But the exposed film still lays on my desk waiting to be processed. I’m not sure what is holding me back. Maybe the speed at which we create and dispense with images has grown so much that the act of shooting is the end game. The implications of digital photography has many facets.

David Westphal