Then and Now

I was going through my archive the other day and stumbled on the first kitchen I ever photographed:

I shot this way back in January of 2003, on film, with a Nikon F4, and a manual focus 20mm lens. I shot it on Kodak E100VS slide film and I think I scanned it on a Nikon scanner, too. My memory is a little hazy on the digital stuff since it was so new then and changing so quickly. I shot film for the first three years of my career and learned a lot by making some very expensive mistakes. Fortunately, this shot wasn’t a total failure. But it shows me how lucky I am to have the technology I have today to do my job. Back then, I just had to guess that the shot was going to turn out. I had to trust that I focused correctly. I did sometimes shoot a test shot on Polaroids, but you really didn’t know what the the film was going to look like until it was processed. I had many sleepless nights waiting for the film to come back.

Things are so much better now. Take for example, this kitchen I shot November of 2012:

Almost a decade later and I was shooting this with a Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm TS-E II, and tethered to a MacBook Pro with Retina display. I could Live View the shot and see exactly what it was going to look like after I pressed the shutter. I knew exactly if the chairs were lined up correctly. And I knew I was going to have to shoot a bracket to get an exposure for the view to Photoshop in later. With digital, I have total control of the look and feel from set all the way to client delivery. No worries about labs messing up your film. No hassle and image quality degradation from scanning. It’s as perfect as a photo can be. Once digital hit 6MP, I was all in. Now were up to 50MP like it ain’t no thing.

It’s hard for me to imagine what I’ll be shooting 10 years from now. I do feel things are about to change again in a big way. Mirrorless cameras will definitely probably surpass and overtake the traditional DSLRs. I can’t wait till Canon comes out with a mirrorless version of the 5D. I shoot that camera on Live View 90% of the time on my architecture shoots. The mirror just gets in the way. The iPhone is an amazing point shoot that you always have with you. It’s not the best quality, but for small quick shots it can’t be beat. And then you have crazy compact cameras like the L16 by Light that has a field of tiny lenses to make one awesome camera that rivals a DSLR. I’m dying for a good travel camera and I would love to have the L16 in my back pocket, rather than lugging around a whole kit. Can’t wait to test it out.

Anyway, no matter where the technology goes, I’ll be sure to keep up and use it to take the best possible photography I can take. As Eve Arnold once said, “It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.”