The Epson V700 & Charlie The Guardian AngelSunday, September 16, 2007
Four years ago my business as a photographer was floundering a tad. My wife Rosemary wanted me to scrap my film cameras and buy digital. I was thinking of the learning curve, the stiff investment in money I didn't have to buy the new equipment, and I was afraid of the unknown. My friend Paul suggested I buy a new computer and perhaps a scanner. Even that was a scary unknown. At the time I had a simple computer and I wrote articles for magazines and newspapers on Eudora, an email program. I was afraid of Word. Nick Rebalski at the Vancouver Sun thought it all very funny but he managed to edit my Eudora files.
With Paul I went to a little shop on Bridgeport Road in Richmond and we ordered a computer by components. It was a stripped down computer designed to be used with a scanner. I bought a scanner, an Epson Perfection 1640 SU. One of my students from Focal Point came over and within a few minutes I was scanning film. It took a while for me to figure it out. It was a long time before I could remove dust specs from my scans. While the scanner was a good one, its soon evident limitations goaded me to find roundabout ways for solutions. These solutions became new techniques. I discovered that the combination of film/prints with the scanner (representing the digital world) gave me results that were unique. They were unique in that they could not be replicated in the darkroom or with Photoshop and a digital camera. They represented a third way. That $400 scanner liberated me and made me competitive. That $400 scanner made me adventurous. In recent months I have been taking one Polaroid (and not other film, just one shot) of my photographic subjects and gone home to scan it. In the past I would have rarely shot one exposure of film and retired the session. Now I am willing to do the same with film. My subject arrives at the studio. We converse and then we take that one shot. It is exhilarating! Perhaps because it is scary.
But to remain competitive one has to be ahead of the times (in my retro film/scanner way). The 1640 with its 1200 dpi rating was more that sufficient to satisfy my editorial needs. But I needed a scanner with a more acute tolerance for film flatness. I have found it in my new Epson V700 that arrived a couple of days ago courtesy of a guardian angel by the name of Charlie.