Reflections on Intermedia and the More Real than Real…

Hope you are well… (Excerpt from a letter to a former Intermedia Agent).

Hmm I wonder who shot those frames of 120, probably forgot, and will never see them.

Since all the B&W film labs in Edmonton have closed, do it yourself has become the only real option. Lucky for me, I can keep my hands out of the chemicals and have someone else do it, a random dude I met at Remedy Cafe. If you are looking for B&W processing at a reasonable price in Edmonton email – jarret (dot) rockman (at) g mail (dot) com.

Interesting thing happened to my perception of images when I scanned these 120’s, (Badly as you can see). The sense is that I have been spending the past years strictly in the digital photography world, quite intensely I might add, as a portrait photographer, and as an art portrait photographer for a new restaurant. In any case I’ve been honing my skills with digital processes. What I noticed when I digitized the last rolls of film is the ‘inter-media’ effect, felt differently now than ever before.

What I mean is that, say, 10 years ago, turning film into a digital file, meant a kind of translation of ‘use.’ The user could (10 years ago, using developed film, a scanner and a ‘powerful computer’), manipulate with ease, using something like Adobe Photoshop. Over the years, the ‘inter-of media’- ness began to wane, and it became all about digital processes.For instance, the Sony Vaio logo, as decoded semiotically to reveal:

(Sony Vaio is a well known brand of laptops. But did you know that the name Vaio logo also had a hidden meaning? Well, the first two letters represent the basic analogue signal. The last two letters look like a 1 and 0, representing the digital signal. – Reproduced from a Viral Email).

What I found now, and this is documented on the blogosphere, about the ‘black’ art of film scanning. And, at present, more of an art than ever before. The overwhelming feeling I had was, wow, what distance, what ghostliness these scanned images purport. I felt distanced from the images, and the persons depicted. (This needs to be explored further. For instance would I feel differently If I scanned a traditionally processed print rather than a celluloid negative). Upon, pausing here I am struck by another reaction, that celluloid film represents one of our cultures most enduring forms of preserving images. I say this because of my reluctance to ‘trust’ anything called a Hard Drive, having experienced these as failed devices with short life spans. Speaking about film, film has ‘captured’ the image, the moment, the person, the place, with a kind of steadfast resolution. A resolution capable of capture and temporal containment. In addition, because the sense I am observing is that, film is not more real than real, instead it is representational at a far more abstract level… To this end, I can say that my image on celluloid, and scanned, is kind of me, but the lines are blurred…

In another way, the more real than real of my current Digital Camera Set up – a Canon Mark II 5D with 21 MP and a Hi Res computer screen with which to view the images (in a live view I might add) make even ‘the real’ (Real life) seem somehow inadequate in comparison to the ‘value added’ Ideal/Real/Virtual effect of digital only streams.

Not sure if my musings make any semblance of sense.

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