by Paul McMullin Published 01/03/2003
In the press fuelled, headlong rush to digital it is easy to forget that a large chunk of commercial work is still carried out on conventional film stock. A problem for magazine writers is that because all the action is around digital there is a dearth of newsy material concerning conventional materials.
To put this further into perspective, one of the problems that wet (or analogue) photographers are having is that their smaller, local laboratories are only running E6 lines once per week or have dismantled them altogether. Professional Imagemaker has tended to reflect this situation, but to redress the balance we have spent some time with Paul McMullin, a specialist architectural and commercial photographer who is very digitally savvy but nevertheless still uses conventional cameras for the bulk of his work.
Paul has a string of prestige clients including Architects, Local government agencies, rail authorities and contractors, consulting engineers and a growing list of American agencies. He is as likely to be found trackside, in high visibility gear in atrocious weather conditions, (he is qualified to work trackside, one of a small and elite band) as he is if front of one of his G4 Macs or Epson 7600.
His workhorse equipment consists of Hasselblads, a Fuji Panorama GX617, a Walker Titan (5"x4"), and a Nikon D100. He estimates that his usage is about 40% on the Blad and 30% for the 5x4 and the other 30% divided equally between the Nikon and Fuji.
His decision on which to use is based on the requirements of the shoot and his interpretation of the brief. The Walker is about half as fast in use as the other cameras but when perspective corrections are needed it is always brought out.
He is the owner of Walker Titan #006, so he was an early adopter of Mike Walker's high tech field camera, some 7 years ago (he also maintains close contact with the camera maker who is currently developing a brand new 5"x7" XL field camera to utilise Keith Canhams' new 6x17 roll film back). In the main the rising front is used, occasionally with a small amount of swing to the front standard to correct the plane of focus. Paul so rarely uses movements on the rear standard that he has recently ordered a Walker XL camera, which is fixed at the rear and is more accurate when using the extreme wide angle XL Schneider lenses( which he also purchases from Walker Cameras)
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