The Ricoh GR and Leaving 35mm Film Behind

Often times I wonder why I gravitated so much towards shooting film, perhaps it was the lure of romance and a continuity with the greats that gave legitimacy to what I was trying to do. Is picture making without gelatin anymore fulfilling?

I still believe in a need for romance, great picture making almost necessitates a myth or performance. In painting or photography, the story of the person behind the camera or the brush probably equates more towards the allure than a single image of theirs. The tools they use thus in tandum are immortalised in themselves; whether it be the legacy of leica and bresson, the ultra large format cameras of chris mccaw, or even the autofocus film slr masao yamamoto uses.

Certainly most of these photographers would probably have strong work regardless of their cameras but there would definitely be a component to why the work was so great to be missing. The camera I’ve shot most with was a voigtlander bessa r and probably made my most memorable shots thus far. I eventually upgraded to a leica m2 (the voigtlander in retrospect was a better match for me especially in that it had a bigger brighter viewfinder, the only downside was the vertical alignment of the rangefinder did get knocked around a few times and the awkward placement of the strap lugs which would prevent the camera from sitting flush when using a neck strap). I recently switched cameras again to a ricoh gr version v (the one previous to the latest model), for my black and white work it matches in image quality to the leica and the zeiss lens I had on it.

Moving to digital has a milieu of benefits, I absolutely cannot keep up with archiving all my film, though certainly I will miss developing film and printing in the darkroom. 35mm poses just far too much waste that clutters up my room in the long run. Having not to deal with that anymore will certainly be a welcome relief.

I am unsure if the ricoh will be the camera but I certainly see the appeal of it, it’s tiny, absurdly so. No one notices me taking pictures as it is pretty much silent. I could not recommend this camera higher, it is perhaps the first digital camera I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using in a long while.

I don’t know if I will abandon film altogether but the rising prices of film worries me. Particularly recently with reports that fujifilm will be discontinuing most of their 35mm line of films by march 2017. It’s early days still, we’ll see.

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