One of the more discussed topics in photography has to be that of bokeh. For the uninitiated, the term is given to how a lens renders an image’s unfocussed areas, either in front of or behind the subject. Sometimes a lens can produce bokeh of such pleasing quality that it becomes part of the subject matter itself – in many ways desirable, but not always so. And one of the more intangible aspects of bokeh is that its beauty really is in the eye of the beholder; an effect derived from a lens that I find particularly pleasing may not do it for you.

The last few years have seen me deplete my stock of Kodak 35mm transparency film and with no more Kodak stock being made, I have reached a point where I need to evaluate the future of my photography. Having tried other manufacture’s slide films over the decades, I have never really found one that I was taken with so remained with Kodak until the end.

It’s hard to believe it was two years ago since we launched PhotoArk out onto the World Wide Web. At the time, we never envisaged the site evolving as much as it has, especially in such a short time. The images in our libraries have almost doubled, the Blogs & Reviews section has over 70 articles, our Exhibitions contain over a whopping 500 images and we have no intention of stopping there. So, with this in mind we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved and what we hope to achieve in the coming years.

It goes without saying that a holiday away from home is an alluring opportunity to photograph something new; a blank canvas so to speak – a chance to capture something new, or maybe perfect new and different techniques. For me, it is mostly about capturing a family event for future posterity – a pictorial record that helps preserve memories not only for me, but the rest of the family. It is a time when I get carried away with the craft in an effort to create something meaningful to us…a personal souvenir.

Have you ever wondered what those white letters and numerals printed on the lens mount of Olympus OM Zuiko lenses mean? Similarly they appear in the film chamber of some OM Camera bodies, but not all. As serial numbers cannot be used to accurately date OM System bodies and lenses, these relatively inconspicuous codes give away tell-tale information as to when an item was manufactured and at which factory it was assembled.

My office is a cluttered place and fundamentally unchanged for 15 years, so filing cabinets and desk drawers have slowly piled up with detritus over times steady passage. I was exploring one of the drawers this morning and behind several tins of plum tomatoes, mackerel and an old VHS video recorder, I unearthed a Sirius 28-200mm zoom lens. I cannot recall the last time this was fixed to the front of a camera, nor why its final resting place was the back of an old office drawer. But handling it again made me realise just how hefty these things were.

There was a time when projecting slides was a very popular method of viewing images. Aunts, Uncles, Children and Friends gathered together in darkened rooms preparing themselves to be bored by the latest bunch of holiday pictures, and sometimes hours could pass by before the victims stepped back into daylight. Humour aside, it was undoubtedly the image quality and cinematic size of projected images that made slide shows popular. Chromes, transparencies, slides, E-6, reversal film - call them what you want – their enduring qualities have captivated photographers for more than 70 years. And although viewing prints is far more convenient, much detail is lost if the prints being handed around are small. The use of slide film is also less expensive in comparison to producing good quality and size prints from negative film.