The Red Light District: A Blog On Celebration, Not Resentment

Note to Self:

As my exhibition in May fast approaches and I find myself writing copy for grant applications, fundraising and press releases, one common theme is emerging: My passion for the survival of analogue photography.

My use of film has not wavered in 22 years, but now more than ever I find myself wanting, or needing to evangelize about the importance (and beauty) of both the negative and the darkroom.

Film is my voice yes, but more importantly it remains the foundation of digital or modern photography, and this should not be forgotten. Without the so called restrictions and limitations of film, I believe photography is in danger of being cast adrift and losing focus – excuse the pun.

As we move into an era where film and darkroom skills are no longer taught and companies like Kodak face bankruptcy, I fear that crucial skills and knowledge will be forgotten and materials will no longer be available for those of us who remain.

It is too easy however to point the finger of blame at digital photography. To become stuck in the past or long for the good ol’ days. To resent everything new and digital and fall into the us and them trap.

The use of websites, the i-phone and i-pad, cheap home printers, social media and e-mail has revolutionised my life and that of professional photographers.

Amateur photographers now have access to hardware and software never before seen and the quantity of talented photographers out there – just take a look through flickr – is staggering.

Photography is going through a revolution – yet another one – and these are truly exciting times.

I came across a fantastic blog by Allen Murabayashi (CEO & Co-founder of photoshelter) which I am happy to say has reminded me of my love for photography – all aspects of photography – and inspired me to write this. I urge you to read it.

As Allen so eloquently said, photographers need to stand together celebrating what we do and this golden era of photography, not pointing the finger of blame or resenting and resisting the changes we are witnessing. We need to support all aspects of photography, from the humble pinhole to the cutting edge technology of whatever is around the next corner.

All I hope is that while we embrace and celebrate the now (and future) of photography, and all the promise it holds, we don’t forget where we have come from. Lessons learnt in the past – whether in morality or technique – are as relevant now as they were then. I truly believe that as a photographer you can only fulfil your potential if you understand and learn from what has gone before you.

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