Did the “one hour photo” speed the death of film?

One Hour Photo
One Hour Photo
The film and prints received from the local shop that still is able to send out film.
Shawn Steiner/In Focus

Recently, I had a roll of 35mm Kodak Ektar 100 processed at a local drug store. I was satisfied. There were 38 developed images (yes, it was a 36 exposure roll, I’m that good) and a set of prints along with a CD. The darkroom chromogenic prints, while appreciated, are atrocious. The scans were better, but still not good enough for my applications. Now, this was expected for my project.

My workflow was always planned to involve taking the negatives and producing my own scans and inkjet prints. The everyday person, however, may have a different reaction. I would image tit to be along the lines of, “This looks terrible!” or “My friend’s new point and shoot looks amazing compared to this!” Basically the person will come to the conclusion that it is time to move to digital.

Amelia Marino
My friend Amelia posing for a shot with some Kodak Ektar 100 35mm film.
Shawn Steiner/In Focus

The prevalence of these one hour photo shops proliferated a change in a desire for quality for the necessity of speed. Digital allows for the best mixture of each for the average consumer. They don’t have access to personal darkrooms to process their film in a timely manner, and they most likely don’t realize the capabilities of their film negatives.

So did these workflows lead to an increasing disappointment with the quality of film?

If I were to imagine being a normal consumer I feel like I would make the change to digital much faster if I thought that the cost of processing film was no longer worth it.

These prints are good enough for being a quick reference, but otherwise I can see this as part of why consumers moved so quickly into the digital realm.

Making room for others


Frankly, the original purpose of this posting was to show off a new photograph of myself. I rarely have nice photos for myself besides those random cell phone photos with my friends. So this is a very nice change of pace.

Here is the photo taken of me.

Shawn Steiner, Photo Editor
Emily Fuller/The Ithacan

That was taken by a one Emily Fuller, design editor of The Ithacan. This was simply after a short training session in the lighting studio. The date of this photo shoot and the nature of how the photos were not taken by me has led to a great change in my approach to the job. After a good bit of time I’ve done a lot that I have wanted to and I feel that for my own personal projects I need to take a step down and let others take over.

I am taking a step down at the end of this semester as Photo Editor of The Ithacan. It was a tough decision but a necessary one. I have made significant changes to the newspaper’s photo section that I am proud of and now I get a chance to relax… mostly.

This is actually resulting in more of a move to multimedia. I find it an area where I can make another huge impact and hopefully leave a large mark. It also allows me to stay a part of something that I love and be there for those who still like my presence. I will have an outlet for my ambition, but I will also hopefully be able to sleep.

The right place

The Ink Shop
The Ink Shop
The Ink Shop doubles as a workshop and a gallery on East State Street in downtown Ithaca.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

So, after my recent Instagram post I’m going to start this with a little clarification. I am not opposed to cell phone photography, I simply find that utilizing it in some ways is unnecessary. But, I believe in the right tool for the job and there are instances where an iPhone happens to be it. Onto the rest of the post.

A couple issues ago I was shooting for a story on a local screen printing business called The Ink Shop. On that shoot the designer and I felt that a wide shot of the entire workspace would be fitting top art. Well, being a Tuesday afternoon with less than a day to work meant speed was paramount. First, I took a series of shots with my SLR and prepared for a process of stitching a panorama together. But, then I realized the new feature iOS6 granted to iPhone users, panoramas.

I pulled out my phone and quickly moved across the scene. A bit of editing in the office led to a usable top image for a front story. Best tool for the job.

Members of the Ithaca Police Department and Fire Department stand outside The Commons at the intersection of South Aurora Street and East State Street. The Commons was evacuated Thursday, Oct. 11 due to a suspicious package.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

This was then followed last Thursday with an odd shoot. Driving back to campus with a fellow editor we saw a swarm of emergency vehicles downtown. I pulled out my phone and took a couple shots as we drove by.

Once we were back on campus the phone calls began. We needed to get a photographer downtown for an investigation into a suspicious package. Fortunately, I already had a photo and we were able to put a story with art up online very quickly. The photograph and story even got picked up by a news station in Syracuse.

Cell phone photography is an incredible advancement in photo technology. We have a high quality camera in our pockets at all times. Use it when the need is there or the aesthetic is desired and serves a purpose. It is something to be utilized.

Editorial portrait: David Maley

Dave Maley, associate director of media relations, will be facilitating communication between student media and college administrators.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan
Dave Maley, associate director of media relations, will be facilitating communication between student media and college administrators. 
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

This is part of a new policy implemented by Ithaca College president Tom Rochon. All student media must contact Maley to set up interviews with upper level faculty and administrators. The campus community has responded very strongly to this new policy, including a letter urging repeal from about 70 faculty members as of Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.

Find the story here at theithacan.org/25742.

Vimeo adds monetization via “Tip Jar”

Vimeo Tip Jar

Vimeo Tip Jar

For years artists had to rely on the earnings they could get by performing or selling their art on the street. In each case it was a hat or jar that held the pennies, nickels and occasional dollar bill. Nowadays, things like YouTube videos can earn a couple bucks as the views add up. But, YouTube was never really friendly to the independent filmmakers nor does it really support a moderated community of media creators. These starving artists struggled through, gaining fame on Vimeo and maybe getting the occasional deal. This is why Vimeo Creator Services is such a big deal.

The Tip Jar is a new way of allowing content creators to earn a living. The major difference between Vimeo’s approach and YouTube’s is that Vimeo doesn’t rely on strictly a view count. Tipping is a process that allows viewers to donate money to support the creator, as much or as little as they would like. It is now possible to earn some cash through our work.

In the past, artists had to rely on their free time to produce content or to work on their ideas. And now this recent democratization of the industry has allowed even more people to join in the movement. This means that people can begin to focus more on their work because they may be able to pay bills with it. In order to actually be able to be focused, it is necessary that one find a way to survive.

Community is still the main idea to this new Vimeo feature. People like things and people are willing to support those who produce enjoyable content. Fellow creators understand the struggles of those around them and this community is how we need friends to assist in the production. The Tip Jar opens up that community to help in yet another way.

Here is the video Vimeo produced for the service: Introducing Vimeo Tip Jar and more Creator Services from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo.

Also, see my original post as part of The Ithacan’s In Focus blog here.

Photojournalism: Fire at the State Street Diner

Fire at The State Street Diner

Selections of my photojournalism will also appear from time to time. This is how I am introducing this new section on this site. Hope you enjoy! Here is the first image, a personal favorite.

Fire at The State Street Diner
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 — Stuart Prineas, an electrical contractor, examines the damage from a fire Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 at the State Street Diner. The diner caught fire at about 4:30 p.m. from what local authorities believe to have been faulty wiring, however the investigation is still ongoing.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan