Then and now


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Then and now

9 Dec 2020 10:39AM   Views : 401 Unique : 278


I was thinking about the changes weíve seen in the last twenty or thirty years as I went for an early walk this morning Ė mostly the photographic ones, but itís often useful to consider one or two other things to help keep perspective. In the end, I decided on a 20-year view.

Back then, although I owned a couple of autofocus cameras, my workhorses were my Contax RTS and Pentax 67 Ė and those camera outfits are more or less unchanged since. No developments, but all still working.

I drove a Rover 825 D, which Iíd bought half a decade earlier, after it had done three years as a cousinís company car, and Iíd taken the mileage from around 128k to over 180k. With the massive fuel tank and rising prices, it was the first car I ever spent £50 on refuellingÖ That would take me 600 miles, though.


I shot with models once every month or two, partly because I had a full-time job that kept me busy every weekday, and partly because I had two teenage children, sort of setting a benchmark for family expenditure Ė and, of course, it was going to rise for the next few years. My daughter was starting to look round universities.

Digital was the stuff of rather remote articles in the magazines, and the internet wasnít a serious source of images or knowledge, as all of it was still dial-up for me. I hadnít heard of Ephotozine.
That was the time when boxes of Ilford Multigrade could be got for £20 (100 sheets of 10Ēx8Ē), and film was not costly: many labs were providing a free replacement roll of colour negative stock with every develop and enprint order.

Since then, Iíve retired, gone mainly digital, and shoot more often Ė Iíd done more studio sessions by lockdown this year than in the whole of 2000. And while I always carried my camera, I took fewer frames on most days than I do now (though thatís partly because my exercise is now round the block, rather than Coventry station to Christchurch House in the city centre!)

Iím definitely spending a higher proportion of my income on photography Ė but thatís as much to do with retirement as anything else. And more of my time: I definitely wasnít writing a blog back then, although Iíd written an opinion piece for an internal audit magazine about the benefits of writing reports in plain English.

My technical standards are higher now, and I know vastly more about cameras and photography. And Iím taking more pictures, of a wider range of subjects.


And, of course, finding models was a very different matter! Back then, the small ads in the back of Practical Photography were one source, and the model register at the few studios around the country were the other. Apart from that, it was a matter of asking people you knew, or your friends knew. OK if you were an art student, but not encouraging for most of us!

Some things donít change, though Ė my basic choice remains a full-frame body with an 85mm lens on itÖ I wonder what has changed in your photographic life? (Assuming it goes back that far!)


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
9 Dec 2020 10:43AM
'Model Contacts' was a brilliant piece of marketing: you paid for the magazine - and then you could only make contact with the models through the publisher, a studio, at an additional cost. Of course, if you then chose to take your pictures at that studio, you paid for three separate services.

I will add that as far as I ever found, it was a purely photographic publication - and while some of the pictures it led to may not have been of an aesthetic standard to grace this wonderful website, it was a lot more reputable than some similar-looking publications.
altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
9 Dec 2020 2:05PM
I have always been very interested in cars. When my dad left the army in 1945 or 46 he bought a 1930's Ford 8 four door saloon (AOT 948 me at front) with a 933cc side valve engine and he was the only person in our road for a long time with a car. (we were not rich, I assume that he used his demob money!) Petrol then was about 1/11d a gallon, roughly 10p., and rationed by use of coupons. Watched him do repairs on it, change a broken leaf spring, decarbonise the engine His next car was a Hillman Minx made about 1938, then a 1950's Ford Prefect with the vacuum operated windscreen wipers, if you drove uphill in rain the wipers stopped..
My first 'real' car was an Austin 35 van, it had no heater and I fitted one with one taken from a crashed car, the windsreen washers were bought as kit from Halfords, not electric, a plunger pump and the scuttle had to be drilled for the jets.
Since then I think that I have owned about 40 different cars. And driven hundreds of others. Some modern small economy cars are really good to drive, other very popular ones truly awful.

Recently I started idly looking at the websites of car manufacturers, not that I am likely to ever buy another car. What I found difficult was to find out any details of the engine, number of cylinders, capacity, even type of fuel, gearbox, auto or manual. Plenty of information on connectivity and entertainment, paint, styles of alloy wheels. I suppose in ten years time the petrol or Diesel engine will be history.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
9 Dec 2020 5:39PM
There will still be a few internal combustion cars around, but the drive to electric (and bicycles, public transport and walking)will help them die out...

Just like film cameras - they will be the preserve of a few nuts, like me... And that's fine. I drove small Peugeot experimental electric cars around 20 years ago (my employer, Coventry City Council, had four or five) and enjoyed the experience - excellent acceleration at low speeds, incredible engine braking, and rewarded good driving - using the brakes instead of lifting off early slashed the range. Mind you, overtaking was something that needed a year-planner and miles of road, as the wee beasties topped out around 55mph, with little acceleration above 35 or so...
GwB Avatar
GwB Plus
3 119 United Kingdom
9 Dec 2020 9:30PM
I can't remember why I got into photography, I think it was on a whim, there was a Zenit for sale on our company notice board so on pay day I dipped into my weekly pay packet and made my purchase. I can still remember that day as if we're only last week, I went to the chaps office where he promptly produced from his desk draw this big chunk of russian metal, I loved that camara, shot mostly black and white due to having an endless supply of film and paper due to my wife working for 3M R n D. She worked for the head of the photographic department, all I had to do was shoot process and print then fill out review sheets. I drifted out of photography for about 30 years where I only used point and shoots for snapshots of life with no real thought in the process. I have only just got back into photography after seeing a used olympus E420 for sale, again purchased on a whim. Came across ephotozine whilst looking at reviews for cameras which has really ruled my interest into a passion. I've still got a lot to learn about digital cameras and e- processing. I don't know about anyone else but I found processing film was much easier then post processing is now. When I opened up Raw Therapee I had to check that my Laptop was set to English. Back then it was simple chemistry and a bit of simple know-how like keep rubbing the sky to bring the clouds out now you need a science degree to know what the words by the sliders mean. I wouldn't go back though, my wife no longer works for 3M ! In retirement I must admit I spend more on equipment, thankfully used camera sites have allowed me to try a lot of cameras but now settled on olympus OMD system which funny enough was my last film camera. Nostalga has come into play on that decision and probably why I enjoy reasons your blogs Dudler.



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