Richard Moore: New technology, old images


Thisis a horrible thing to confess but ... I am an addict.

I've suspected it for a while, but in the past two weeks my holiday activities have proven to me that I cannot control myself when close to my addiction.

Fortunately it is not drugs. Nor, surprisingly, is it booze. No, not pokies, horse racing, poker, nor footy.

It isn't even new technologies, but those wonderful little gadgety life-simplifying things certainly enable my inability to say no.

Dear readers, I am a photoholic.

I can't help myself.

Despite having a long line of to-dos that need to be to-dooed, I get out of the house with my cameras and watch for any chance to get them out and start clicking away.

Even walking on Papamoa Beach I have my beloved Canon 7D and junior friend in my bag.

I tell myself it is okay because I continue to come across wonderful subjects to be photographed close by in the Bay.

In the past few weeks they have included a ginormous pod of either very big dolphins or pilot whales cruising down the beach, and a seal happily snoozing on its sands.

On the first official day of my recent holiday I was driving down Route K - you know the $60 bazillion dollar rates drainer - and I came across a car that was on its roof and its rather shaken driver being comforted by exceptionally relieved parents.

In the digital age you can shoot as many images as your memory card will allow and then, upon returning home, it takes merely seconds before you can see you work on your computer screen.

From there you can easily edit, crop or delete and then either email them to news organisations, post them on websites or zip down to a photo kiosk and get almost instant prints.

It is a far cry from from the days of processing films and then printing them out in a dark room and then wiring them off to people.

Oh, thank you, whoever it was who invented the digitalism in digital photography.

But, there are those who would brand you as an enabler of my photoholicness.

Then there are the people who perfected the slide/negative scanner.

OMG, I kiss you on both cheeks in your anonymity.

About a year ago I replaced my cheap nasty little scanner with one that would - when I had the time - allow me to transfer my slides and negatives into digital format.

I have thousands of transparencies to deal with and when professional services charge about $5 an image using them would have broken my budget faster than a Labour government.

So with my new electronic pal I transferred hundreds of slides of Morocco but, lost in an avalanche of other to-dos, have never managed to get back to them.

In the week before my holidays I vowed to scan in black-and-white negatives from photo essays I shot in Berlin - after the fall of the Wall - and Belfast, where I got way too close to a hand grenade attack at an IRA funeral.

These negatives are 24 years old and while I have printed copies of them I have avoided digitalising the collection because there are masses to do and the technology has not been available to let me digitalise them easily.

Oh how that has changed.

All my slide-scanning enabler required was for me to read some instructions - okay I didn't do it straight away. I had to fail a few times before resorting to such non-manly behaviour - and then took the punt.

I duly slid the negatives into the holder, closed the scanner lid, clicked on a button and then waited.

There was clicking and whirling, a-rumbling and a-running and I wondered just what I would need to do to transfer my digital image of a B&W; neg into a positive image.

I had no need to worry because, as silence fell, up popped the pictures ready to roll.

It was a miracle - and one that ruined plans to finish my novel these holidays - as I got sidetracked with putting the photos on the mighty interweb at richardmoore.com.

Looking back on your work from almost a quarter of century ago is an intriguing experience.

You wonder if the pictures will stand the test of time and if they will have any relevance today.

To people who know little of the Cold War and the significance of events in Berlin in 1989, or those for whom the word Belfast doesn't conjure up thoughts of bombings and murders, maybe not.

But to anyone who does remember it could be an interesting trip back in time.

If you do check out the galleries, spare a thought for the addictive soul who yearns for a true holiday - away from cameras, photos and great subject matter.

Another Tui ad you reckon?

Yeah, you'd be right.

richard@richardmoore.com

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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