The End of an Era
As a familiar technology becomes obsolete, an academic
considers the relative advantages of digital photos.
By Stephen Ervin
Jean Hin/Images.com, symbol added by staff
Slides are going the way of vinyl records. I have been aware
of this trend for some time, but it really came home to me this summer when I
carried my roll of 35 mm film to the nearby photo finishing shop and the young
man behind the counter said, "Sorry, we donít process E6 (color slides)
anymorenot enough demand."
This shop had, two years ago, added a service whereby it
would return a Photocd and contact sheet, along with the actual slides, for a small extra charge. And I
had used this serviceI like having digital images for various purposes,
including posting on the web. This process was always easier and usually higher
fidelity than scanning the slides myself on a Nikon CoolScan scanner. But I had
considered the digital images as useful side effects, not the main attraction.
I have always highly valued my 35 mm slide collection, which I started as a
mere hobby, then developed while earning my MLA at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. But it became a professional
necessity when I started teaching landscape architecture design and technology.
Even though Iíve been immersed in digital image technology for just about as
long as it has been around, Iíve never been convinced that the state of the art
was (yet) a sufficient substitute for good old celluloid and silver.
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