|Gianni Berengo Gardin, 1968|
Tri X celebrates its diamond anniversary later this year. Leicaphilia.com has published an article, originally from Intelligent Life magazine, which is a lovely tribute to the little iconic yellow box using quotes from some famous photographers and some excellent pics to highlight the film's outstanding capabilities.
This passage sums up the importance of Tri X very nicely, "It was on Tri-X that McCullin captured some of the most powerful images of the Vietnam war: the shell-shocked American soldier with the thousand-yard stare and the fallen Vietnamese soldier with bullets and family snaps scattered about him.
"It was on Tri-X that Corbijn took some of the greatest rock’n’roll photographs, including his documentation of the capering genius of Tom Waits, which has now run for nearly 40 years.
"In fact, if we include just a few other Tri-X users—Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Josef Koudelka and most of the finest of the photographers who worked for the Magnum agency—it becomes clear that this film may be the most aesthetically important technology in photographic history."
On a personal level, I've been using Tri X for more than 35 years. It was a favourite film when I was just learning photography. A few years later when I started a career as a newspaper reporter in a district office that had no photographer, I got the extra responsibility of being the paper's snapper for many local events that didn't merit sending an official photog from head office.
I must have got through a few rolls a week for about a year before moving on to head office. Here's one I took in my spare time of Longannet power station in Fife not far from where I was based. Not up to the standard of some of pictures in the Leicaphile post but all my own work nevertheless.
Just to prove that you don't need expensive equipment to take a decent pic, the camera for this shot was an M42 screw mount Mamiya and the lens a pretty poor 39-80mm Sigma zoom that you couldn't give away on Ebay today.
Happy birthday Tri X and, more importantly, many happy returns.
The Leicaphile post is a great read. Put the coffee on, make yourself comfortable and enjoy.