The temperature is -22C and the sky is a brilliant blue. We've had a lot of snow this year, but not nearly as much as much as some areas in eastern Canada and on the northeastern coast of the USA.
Winter has its own unique beauty. This is the view from our dining room.
According to an article in the photo e-magazine ZoneZero the Getty Conservation Institute (part of the Getty Museum in California) needs our help:
"Scientists at the Getty Conservation Institute need your old photographic papers, film, negatives, and prints to build an archive of knowledge and materials from the era of classical photography. This archive will become a reference collection for future generations of photo conservators and scholars, and will allow them to research and authenticate the treasures of the classical photography era."
Apparently photo companies such as Kodak, Ilford and Agfa did not keep samples of the papers and films that they produced over the past 100 years, and the Getty group is hoping that some of us did – and that we might like to contribute them to their project.
Photo papers and other darkroom products have varied in type and quality over a period of time. The prints that I made 25 years ago were made with Ilford Galerie paper, a wonderful, slightly warm tone paper which went out of production several years after I started to use it. The films which we have used over the years have changed as well.
Photographs thus are different from each other, depending on the type of paper, chemicals and film available at the time they were made – and, of course, how the products were used. The print that I will make from an old negative today will be different from the print I made years ago even if I try to make the new print look like the older one.
If you are interested in helping the Getty Conservation Group in this endeavour check the FAQ section of their site. No other group is doing this work and your contribution could be unique.
Black and white film photography continues, with a little help from its friends.
Photographers continue to use black and white film for creative purposes and art collectors are more interested in black and white photographs than ever before.
Ilford Photo, now employee-owned, has reorganized, brought back some products that had been dropped, and dedicated itself to serving the black and white film community. I use Ilford films, chemicals and paper almost exclusively and am delighted that they are continuing to produce fine products.
The Photographers' Formulary site features an excellent video with Ilford Photo's Steven Brierley in which he discusses the present and future plans for Ilford.
You may wish to watch this short video even if you are not interested in photography. It's a great marketing effort. Brierley is being interviewed outside during a break at a conference. He tells his and Ilford's story plainly, clearly and effectively.
No visual aids, no music, just a story. And it works.