only analogue

When I first started taking photographs, I was adamant that I would only ever use film. 35mm don’t-touch-it-don’t-breath-on-it film. It was almost as if the fragility of the film itself reflected the fragility of this type of photography. Granted, when I got my first camera, digital cameras were nowhere near our shelves and so there was no apparent threat from this new point-and-press technology. But look at the market now, dominated by auto zoom, megapixels and face recognition compacted into slimline shapes and LCD screens, and you’ll soon realise that the humble film camera is too often resigned to specialist shops and vintage markets. A gross generalisation I admit but when I think back to those hours I spent as a kid in awe of those old cameras and photographs in museums, wondering how the hell you could capture a moment on a piece of plastic, I can’t imagine future generations getting the same excitement looking at cabinets of digital cameras and memory cards.

Ok, I feel I cannot continue a tyrade against digital photography and the death of 35mm cameras when I myself am guilty of (temporarily) turning my back on my Nikon F60 in favour of a less fragile model that might be able to withstand my various backpacking trips/impromtu nights out without risking getting sand/sambuca  in the lens. But I miss it. It was my first ‘real’ camera, the home to the first roll of film I developed (read: ruined) in the darkroom, the prop I hung around my neck, adopting a look not unlike a Japanese tourist but one that wore more vintage dresses and did less peace signs…

Now I’m in London, I don’t have the same access to darkrooms that I did in Edinburgh- this is part of the reason why my trusty Nikon lives in my wardrobe and it’s the Fujifilm that comes out to play…

But yesterday I came across something so beautiful it almost took my breath away and made me wish I hadn’t turned my back on analogue photography so easily… Ellen Rogers.

Haunting, beautiful, gothic, seductive, other worldly- there is no room for all the adjectives that describe how amazing this woman’s photography is. And I have absolutely no shame getting all fan-girl here, this monogamy to old school, sepia tinged Victorian photography, saturated in the heady, psychedellic colours of the 70s with a sensuality and sex appeal that transcends any era is truly is breathtaking…

And it is all analogue, done by hand, with no digital manipulation or involvement aside from scanning the image onto her frankly equally amazing website!

Looking through these photographs, it is not surprising to learn that she has studied Druidic and Pagan religions, an inspiration that not only comes through the themes of many of the photographs, lending to their mysterious darkness but also embodies the last vibrancies of long gone times… that have not quite yet disappeared.

Like Paganism itself, still present in the peripheries of society, Rogers’ photographs prove the ghosts that populated those cabinets in the museums I frequented as a child have been resurrected. Soaked in colour. But still imbued with that same etheral aura surrounding  sepia faced models.

It’s just not the same when it’s PhotoShopped…

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This entry was published on June 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm. It’s filed under Art, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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