The Honda Indy has been running here in Toronto for almost thirty years, but I only started shooting it three years ago, after I "came out" as a motorsports fan after years of pretending I was a timid urbanite who broke out in a rash at the smell of gasoline. Thanks to blogTO I was able to get accreditation and thanks to my wife I've been able to take three days to cover the event, slathered in sun screen and walking the track until my feet blister.
|At work, this weekend|
If I'd admitted to my love of auto racing earlier in my career, I probably wouldn't have been able to do this. At 36 shots per roll, I would have gone through over 50 rolls of film in three days just to bring around 1,850 frames home. Ten or fifteen years ago I would probably have put black and white in one camera and colour in the other, but assuming I shot colour the whole weekend, just filling my bag with enough film at the current cost of Fujicolor Pro 400H at $12 a roll would have set me back at least Can$612.00 before taxes.
|Audi v Ferrari: Pirelli World Challenge|
Wandering the photographers annex to the media centre at Indy, I buttonholed some of the veterans shooting the race and asked them how many rolls of film they'd have shot in a similar weekend. One guy said between 50 and a hundred, but added that he was starting an agency at the time and needed as much choice as possible.
|Yellow flag at Turn 10.|
Everyone said that they shot very differently back then, squeezing out shots after carefully focusing and framing where today they'll keep their finger on the shutter and bang off long strings of frames in a row. Nobody could edit on the fly, and you didn't know what you had until you got it back from the lab.
|Mike Conway wins race two.|
The result is that near-amateurs with decent digital gear have been able to talk their way into gigs that well-equipped pros once relied on, mostly by offering to do the work for a fraction of the price - or for nothing at all. Since it's a given that most people can't tell mediocre work from the really good stuff, "good enough" rules the day and nobody makes a living any more. The agency pro scanned the room, packed with photographers, and said that maybe six or seven of them actually make a living doing this.
|Tony Kanaan, Mike Conway and Will Power on Victory Lane.|