Photography is not like biking

If you think photography is like biking, and that you never forget it, well, that’s not really true.

If you stop it for a while, you’ll need some time to readjust. You might have forgotten what you thought you had acquired for good. You’ll probably search for some specific functions of your camera because you have forgotten where to change those settings.

You would need to press the shutter to get back the feeling, to see if it has the same appeal to you than before.

You might be, like I was, be scared to check the results. This sensation might be multiplied if, like I am, you’re not a very good photographer.

Hear me out, I don’t mean it in an objective way. Because I always delivered satisfactory pictures to clients, who were constantly satisfied. I even occasionally gained their trust enough to be hired regularly.

But I never had the true feeling of accomplishment, neither the satisfaction that I delivered a very good result.

My impression, after completing an assignment, was rather a relief that it was over.

And that’s a huge problem because it led me to accept low rates, as if I was feeling guilty to charge more for something of which I didn’t see any value.

My issue now is that I don’t know what else to do.

My second problem is that AI does it better than me. So I’m scientifically proved to be useless as a product photographer.

I underwent an ablation.

Somewhat not physically painful, I however feel the lack of exercise that photography often requires.

It’s morally exhausting, though. Constantly feeling this void, and trying to fill it up.

The pinch of nostalgia, the bitterness when cancelling newsletters, notifications of all the photography related websites, pages, competitions or news.

Strangely, I don’t really feel sadness. Because I know -and I see- that many other photographers do it way better than me. So, great images will still be created. Although most of them scattered in a vast ocean of average aesthetics, if not conformist mediocrity.

Because, what we need is not more photographers, but unique, rare, uncommon, special ones.

And moreover, we need curators, educated and versed in arts, who can recognise singularity, explain it to the crowd.

We don’t need more images, we need better ones.

Watch again

I take profit of this space of freedom
to talk about subjects that may not be directly related to
photography, but to art more generally.

I’m 47, grew up with the early
Superman, Star Wars and E.T. Movies. And I was wondering why I got so
bored watching the new era superheroes movies. As much as I
appreciate the Iron Man like any other guy, it’s mostly
because of the colourful character of Tony Stark.

But I couldn’t help finding most of
the Marvel movies boring.

And, unpopular opinion : I find the
Lord of the Rings soporific.

Yes, maybe the John Guillermin King
Kong might appear clumsy according to the actual standards, but why
have I been terrified and moved to tears by his version, and admiring
only the special effects team for those made after that ?

There might be several reasons.

One of them is the over abundance of
CGI. Usually brilliantly executed, they paradoxically tend to
withdraw the magic out of the reality.

Computers shoo away imagination.

The surge of the spectacular is a the
expense of the emotion.

A thought came to my mind as I was
caught rewatching Rocky II on tv (that’s a sign : if you go on
watching a movie you’ve seen a million times, there is something).

First of all, during long minutes,
there is no music. Throughout different scenes, no notes to command
and direct your feelings. You face the dry and raw reality.

The direct consequence is that
dialogue is highlighted. It’s not a bunch of useless words uttered
without intent.

In Rocky II, there is this scene when
Mickey asks Rocky to chase a chicken.

The lines are not bombastic
proclamations overly written. Words are plain and simple.

It allows them to be heard and
understood. There’s no superfluous grease around the meat. It lets
the viewer fully grasp their true meaning, even sometimes hidden
between the lines. The spectator is involved. He could have said
those sentences. He feels them.

He is not excluded like in the
numerous modern movies, with their predictable and overly heard

Compare those lines :


listen, you start fighting right-handed, and then you change
suddenly, and that’ll make history, but first you gotta get
speed. Demon speed. Speed’s what we need.
We need greasy, fast
Now, I’ll show you a trick how to get some speed in them
Do you have to wear that stinking sweatshirt?

it brings me luck, you know.

know what it brings?
It brings flies.
Now, listen, I want you
to try…
Listen to me.
I want you to try to chase this
little chicken.

what do I gotta chase a chicken for?
It’s embarrassing, you

I said so.
And second, because chicken-chasing is how we always
used to train in the old days.

these ones :


is out of line, Director.You’re dealing with forces you can’t


ever been in a war, councilman?In a fire fight? Did you feel an over
abundance of control?



running the world’s greatest covert security network and you’re
gonna leave the fate of the human race to a handful of freaks.


not leaving anything to anyone.We need a response team. These people
may be isolated, unbalanced even, but I believe, with the right push,
they can be exactly what we need.

the famous :


my family I love them.



them yourself.

which one of these 2 scenes will you remember ?

one will stay vivid in your memory as unique, and which one will be
lost in the maelstrom of numerous uselessly conventional chatty
scenes ?



I may give more details here about my process of film scanning.

To be honest, I was not convinced at all of the efficiency of using a digital camera to scan films and negatives. As a former employee as drum scanner in a photo laboratory, I could not imagine that any other solution out of a proper scanner existed or would give qualitative results enough. If you ever used a Heidelberg Tango scanner, you might know what I’m talking about. The details, the sharpness and the dynamic range are truly amazing.

But, of course that kind of tool is over expensive and demanding, in terms of time, place and consumables.

So I was thinking to purchase a film dedicated scanner. But I was not convinced by the reviews I could read. Moreover, most of them were dedicated for 135 films. And I have a lot of 6x6 films, as it’s my favourite format.

So, I thought that I might give a try to the use of on of my digital cameras. It required only a small place and few investment. 

I started with my 135 films. I then purchased the Nikon ES-2, and an old 60mm AF-D macro. I mounted all this on and my old reliable D700. For a stable source of light, I have purchased a LED light tablet usually used for drawing.

It quite handy and easy to use, although the light seems a bit weak sometimes, depending on how my negatives/films are exposed.

For my medium format images, I have cut an opening in a thick black paper, in both 6x6 and 4,5x6 sizes, to avoid light leaks, and taped one side on the light table. I covered the whole with a small piece of glass, to prevent any film curve.

Equipped with a dust blower, I was ready to start my journey towards the past.

With a sense of order that would give Marie Kondo a heart attack, and after a recent moving, my films were a bit scattered in different cupboards, with or without contact sheets, in sleeves or in slides, positives, negatives, color, black and white… An archival nightmare. I was a bit too impatient to start and use my images, that I postponed any real sorting, classification or tidy-up.

To be totally honest, I was a bit disappointed with the first results. Mostly with the slides. But I could easily charge my crappy lenses of the time for the poor results (and I won’t give names !). But I regain some hope with my black and white 135 films.

As I had tethered my Nikon to Capture One Pro, I could control the outcome quite easily. I found it important not to use too much sharpness.

Things changed when I started to “scan” my medium format films. A slide of this size (I use 4,5x6 or 6x6) always gives me a sense of depth, of three dimensions, a very different feeling than with a 135 film. 

And shooting them did them justice. I rediscovered my images again. Sometimes I got disappointed to unveil some of their defects (a bad focusing most of the time). But, thanks to the Carl Zeiss lenses I used on my Rollei SL66, the grain was visible, even when using some 100 isos films (mostly the Fuji Provia 100), and it gives some organic matter that only analog photography can provide.

So, to conclude, I had a great pleasure to use this method, and it gave me the hope I needed to continue to use my analog cameras again.

So, my next move will be to buy more films, and get out to use them, when times are better !

Using Format