I brought my film camera with me to shoot black and white photos of her workout. I had the film processed and scanned at Indie Film Lab. They have a well deserved reputation for the quality of their scans. These photos were pretty much exactly as scanned and processed from Indie. For the film aficinados this is on Freestyle’s Arista Premimum 35mm film. Their Arista Premium is actually re-labeled Kodax Tri-x film. Tri-x is a classic black and white film that was pretty much all the newspaper guys shot back in the day.
There is a purity in shooting film for me. When shooting, I have to just “know” that I have it right, as there is no “chimping” the photos on the back of the camera. What I shot is what I got. I find I’m more focused on “seeing” while doing the shoot. I also feel like I’m continuing a long tradition of using traditional techniques to capture the photos. I like the mystery and challenge of not being 100% sure I “got the shot”. I say when I do my thing that I don’t mind the wait for the film to be processed, but, the truth is, when it’s out for developing, I’m like a kid at Christmas. Are they done yet? Are they done yet?
Some say I could get the same effect from shooting digital and just processing the files in photoshop to get the look and feel of film. I suppose it’s technically correct, but, it just doesn’t feel the same. I find I’m not really committed to the digital files. They’re disposable. Perhaps its a mindset thing, but, there you go.
Can you see a difference between the photos in the two posts? I’d love to hear your thoughts on film vs. digital, especially the process part.
8 thoughts on “Diana on Film”
These are great Dave. I’m dying to try Indie Labs myself. I shot a few frames of film last July and I too was very anxious to see how they came out. My niece borrow the camera for her high school photography class and I let her finish out the roll. When she developed them I was so happy to see how well they turned out. I do agree that shooting film makes the world of photography what it should be, talent and knowledge mixed with an artful mind. I can’t wait to get that camera back from her so I can shoot more film.
Another choice is to pick up another camera on Craiglist that will take your lenses. I’ve gotten a few Canon EOS film cameras for ~$25 each.
I agree that much of shooting film is mental attitude. All of those things you talked about doing with film I usually do with digital because that is how I learned photography.
I rarely chimp and it is not uncommon for me to leaves image on the storage card for days or weeks before I look at them. The tighter latitude of digital has made me better photographer.
Having shot thousands of feet of Tri-X there are days when I miss it, a little. I also loved my time in the darkroom printing but I don’t miss the mess and the hassles of having one.
The system I have for printing my digital B&W produces prints that are every bit as good and in some ways better than what I ever did in a darkroom.
I get a little annoyed when people toss around terms like “film look” or “digital look” but then can’t define or even recognize them. I regularly have photographers ask if I am shooting film or digital after seeing my prints.
For me the bottom line is the finished print, just because to you took a different route to get there doesn’t make your work any better/worse than mine. Unfortunately there are process snobs out there who will buy prints based on how they were done not the quality or content of the final image.
Thanks Cort. I agree that the final photo is what matters, and don’t really care how you get there. Just use the tools you like and produce something you’re proud of is what it boils down to.
This is a nice set of images and your last postcard from Rodney was beautiful.
Thanks Cort! I appreciate it when a skilled photographer gives me an atta boy!
I stumbled upon you on FB For the Love of Black & White. I completely understand your statement about purity in shooting film. I am a dinosaur and honor the richness of silver tones captured with my go to film, Ilford 120/220 black and white. Then the magic happens watching a gelatin silver print come to life. Having said that, I enjoy the options and instant gratification of the digital SLR or the iphone for that matter. I perused your b&w’s and they are lovely!
I do some developing on my own, but don’t have a darkroom to start doing my own prints. I suspect that would be another rat hole for time! LOL
It really doesn’t matter to me what someone else uses, as long as they’re happy with the results.
Thanks for the kind words!
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