I’ve loved shooting film for as long as I can remember. My first camera was a free plastic model from SupaSnaps, then when I hit ten, I graduated to a £35 jobbie from the Argos catalogue. Remember those days when you had just 24/36 photos on a roll? That thrill of excitement when you picked up the developed prints from Boots…Getting a little too nostalgic here…
Digital is a fantastic invention and has served me well. But try as I might, I still find myself going back to film. Having only 30 images on a roll of film forces me to slow down and think differently. I don’t worry about “missing the shot”, because if I haven’t taken it, it doesn’t exist. Instead of a shutter-gun approach which often accompanies digital, I can really think things through and create. The “look” of film is also so different to digital. The softness, the colours, the creaminess of skin…it’s what makes me happy. I spent last week holed up in a French chateau with 26 members of my family, and I captured it all on 35mm and medium format film. The rolls have already been sent off to the lab and the baited breath has begun.
And so, knowing my heart doesn’t really lie with megapixels and the RAW vs JPEG war, last month I went on a little adventure. I took part in a workshop entitled Film is Not Dead, run by Jonathan Canlas. All film, not a digi in sight. I had high hopes for this workshop and Jon smashed them to smithereens. It was pretty amazing.
The workshop consisted of three days of classroom instruction and shooting. I am a total geek when it comes to learning, so there I was, the morning of Day 1, sitting in the front row with my pad, pen and horn-rimmed glasses ready to go. I could bore you endlessly with details of what we discussed. Suffice to say, I wrote pages and pages of notes. Discussing technical stuff was useful and essential, but it was the morning of Day 3 which really struck a chord with me. Jon talked about how important it is to have a personal vision, and showed us a beautiful set of images that he shot of his son when he was in hospital. You could see how much he believes in what he does, so that his personal work and professional work look like one and the same. As a photographer and an artist, that is truly important.
Lately I have had lots of my clients ask me to use film on their engagement shoots and weddings. It appears that those Film Fridays have struck a chord with them, and they can see and appreciate the beauty of film. I love that I have clients like that. They give me that extra little shove in the film direction and I thank them for it.
All images shot on a Contax 645, using Portra 400, Fuji 400H and Tri-X films.