[ad_1]Film In the Age of Digital I shot film growing up. Lots of film. About 15 years ago I got my first digital camera. I immediately ditched all my film and film cameras and did not look back. This year, Cecilia and I both shot film for the first time in many many years. I want to try and explain why we are now enjoying film in the age of digital.
Digital cameras have made us all better photographers. Not only are we better but we learn much quicker on digital and there are now many more excellent photographers than in the days of film. With digital we get immediate feedback on each image. We can then adjust settings, focus, composition and etc and retake the image. We can take multiple shots of the same scene to ensure we have captured the exact perfect moment in time. My newest Fujifilm camera, the XT100, even has a feature that starts shooting frames before you fully depress the shutter button. This allows you to get hundreds of shots in an instant - almost like the ‘Live’ photo mode in Apple iPhones.
But like a lot of things today - more, faster, easier does not always mean better in every context. We love shooting digital cameras and I can’t imagine not having digital and trying to shoot a wedding, an event or real estate. Heck, how much fuss has been made over the recent new mirrorless cameras from Nikon and Canon because they only have one SD card slot. People are demanding 2 SD cards! Can you imagine if you were shooting film in that kind of high-pressure environment? I can’t!.
So, why have we picked up a few old film cameras and started shooting film again? I suppose it comes down to two main reasons - considered photography and mindfulness.
I’ve heard arguments both ways about film photography. Some argue that going back to shooting film makes you a better photographer with digital and some say there is no point in shooting film and it does nothing to increase your skill level. I believe it does affect your photography. To shoot film means you must slow down and think about what you are doing. You often plan your shots and construct compositions more carefully. You think about the lights and shadows and how the light meter is reading the environment. You consider the type of film and ISO. You think about how many shots are left on the roll of film and if you are only taking one shot r can afford a couple of shots. With film I know I will not have a hundred versions of the same shot to choose from. I want the shot taken on film to be as perfect as possible when I click the shutter.
Slowing down and thinking is a good thing. It makes us exercise our brains in ways that I think are under utilised when shooting digital. As a result of shooting film, we have both started photography projects that we envision displaying at some future time. We’ve become more creative and thoughtful during these outings with only 36 exposures in our hands.
Now you may see where the mindfulness aspect comes into this argument. Yes, that right, slowing down gives our mind time to catch up, pay attention and experience the surroundings. It gives us time to consider and reflect on our photography and on many other things as we go through the process of shooting film. I think there’s a connection hardwired in our brain between ‘making’ and ‘wellness’ or mindfulness. There is a certain Zen to loading film, adjusting settings, thinking about a shot, pressing the shutter button and then pushing the film advance lever to prepare for the next photo without the benefit of seeing what we have captured immediately afterward. We have to trust our skill and judgments and look at the next experience or shot up ahead, always reflecting, always looking, always thinking.
Funny thing about film, you have to wait to see what your photos look like. Sometimes we’ll have rolls of film in a camera for a few weeks before finishing them. We send them off to be developed and when the digital scans return, it’s like Christmas as a kid. It’s so exciting to finally see these shots we put some brain power into getting. Sometimes we are very disappointed with the outcomes and other times, very proud. I guess that’s also part of the deal with film, it’s a surprise, you don’t know what you have until it’s developed. They return like little presents from the past. I love that. I also love the look of film images. There’s something about film that looks so cool and, try as much as I might, I can’t replicate it in digital.
We are shooting film this Saturday and invite you to join us. We are only charging enough to cover film and developing costs - $30. We have plenty of film cameras to loan if you need one. If you want to join us, see the event on Facebook and or shoot me a message/email.
Here’s a couple of recent shots from Cecilia and I at Cape Woolamai.