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Sebastio Salgado switched format on Genesis

Pierre Claquin , Aug 16, 2009; 07:27 a.m.

"On a more technical front, Sebastiao Salgado spoke about film vs. digital.
He no longer shoots with film as the reasons to go digital mounted up.?The silver in current medium format films, are currently at levels that 35mm was 25 years ago.?The 600 rolls of 220 he carried on shoots weighed about 60 lbs.?After 9/11 the security checkpoint that he goes through with exposed film (he told us 7 on the last trip) has affected the grain and contrast of the exposed film.?Plus there was the inevitable fight at each checkpoint to hand check the film. His assistant almost quit on his last trip from the constant battles.?So now it’s a Canon DSLR for him. 21 megapixels strong. But he is also looking at that new LeicaS2 with 37 megapixels.?And his “film”? about 1.5 lbs of cards."



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Stuart Richardson , Aug 16, 2009; 07:51 a.m.

If I shot 600 rolls of 220 on a trip, I would shoot digital too. He sounds like the perfect candidate for the S2 though.

Luis G , Aug 16, 2009; 09:27 a.m.

I wonder how many cards that is?

Charles Hess , Aug 16, 2009; 09:58 a.m.

Nice to read, though, that the reasoning to go to digital had nothing to do with image quality. I really get tired of hearing the digital converts proclaim how their digicam "blows away" 35mm and even MF film.

Bruce Muir , Aug 16, 2009; 10:15 a.m.

What type B&W 220 was he able to procure?

These days in the US about all you can get in 220 is Tri X 320

Paul A. - Los Angeles, CA. , Aug 16, 2009; 10:44 a.m.

Personlly, I think he was just done with film. Ditto David Allen Harvey. They must feel they died and went to heaven its so much easier with digis.

Brad - , Aug 16, 2009; 11:10 a.m.

>>> I wonder how many cards that is?

About 68. Roughly 41,000 images with 16GB cards. Double that with 32s.

David Manning , Aug 16, 2009; 11:14 a.m.

Another working pro chooses a digital workflow due to convenience. No surprise there. Cost of production might be another contributing factor.

Pros with a production budget can always "ship" their unexposed, and exposed, film both ways. At NG, film photographers always shipped their take blind, and they probably didn't even have overnight tracking. After all, the manufacturer AND the reseller have to ship in bulk, and it doesn't hurt the film.

As was pointed out, many photographers are changing from their "preferred" methods to more "convenient" methods...that's really too bad for the shooter. There's nothing worse than being told what to shoot with after you're hired for your look and style.

Peter Keating , Aug 16, 2009; 04:23 p.m.

Assistant almost quits because of the constant battles while working with an internationally regarded master who uses film.

The absolutely WORST reason to switch technology I could ever imagine.

How good were the technical reasons? Is the silver content of film related to its quality? What does it mean that "The silver content of 220 is at the levels of 35mm 25 years ago"? Does that mean it isn't as good as 220 film 25 years ago? Or does it mean that 35mm film is worse now?

I can see a reluctance to run exposed film repeatedly through x-ray machines. But that should be surmountable by shipping with tracking.

Franklin Polk , Aug 16, 2009; 05:05 p.m.

Well, our own Rowland Mowrey disproved one of his problems in this thread: http://photo.net/black-and-white-photo-film-processing-forum/00U9qV

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