After a summer (hell, a year) of gloomy news about slide film, I’ve been stockpiling the ones that were discontinued. My favorite slide film, Fuji Provia 100, is still being produced, and even many Kodak slide films are still readily available around here and easy to find online. So rather than wring my hands over the possible demise of slide film, I’ve chosen to just buy it often and shoot as much as I can. I imagine that we still have 1-3 years of production and then continued availability on the shelves for a year after that. By then, I’ll have a very healthy stash in my fridge and freezer.
Lately, I’ve been appreciating my Nikon D700 (full frame digital), and thanks to a few excellent email exchanges and conversations, I have developed a workflow for RAW files in Adobe Lightroom 4 that I enjoy. I’ve come to understand the D700′s strengths, which are many, and its one big limitation – it’s not film.
For images like the ones below, digital is just not a suitable replacement for slide film. Slide film wasn’t developed to be scanned, but even slide scans surpass my D700 RAW files in look, depth, and feel. You can use all of the software in the world to make digital files look film-like, but they won’t honestly capture the depth and richness of subjects like these aging storefronts. You can’t fake the texture, the grit, or the roughness. Well, you *can* fake it, but it still looks fake. It’s too smooth, too sterile, and just unsatisfying to me for this type of subject. This is not a film vs. digital argument or contest, because frankly there is no argument or contest.
BTW, if you enjoy New York storefronts, then there is nothing better than James and Karla Murray’s ‘Storefront.’ I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them and talking about their work. That book is one of the big reasons I’m so fascinated with NYC storefronts. They perfectly captured the beauty, history, and grit of these disappearing facades. The dedication to their subject matter and the authenticity and richness of their photos (shot on film of course) are unmatched.