I love film.

(TechNotes: F100, Pan 50)

Usually when I tell someone that I shoot film, they look at me like I have two heads.  I’m sure it may come as a surprise to many people – most, even – that film is still alive and well and that photographers are *gasp* choosing to shoot it instead of digital.  Even my 2-year-old son will ask to see an image immediately after I take a picture of him, and is perplexed when I explain ‘It’s film.  You have to wait to see it.’

It’s not that we film shooters don’t know how to use a digital camera.  We do.  And digital has its place and its purpose.

But film.  FILM!  Film is magical.

(TechNotes: F100, Pan 50)

Here are some of the reasons that I love film:

  • Film is not free.  I pay for every single shot I take.  This makes me stop…look closer…wait for the right moment.  All of this means I shoot with more intention.  In the past, I could fire off 500 frames with my digital camera in one hour.  Then, back at home, I would throw out 450-475 of them and keep just 25-50.  Now, I shoot just a few rolls of film and most of the images are keepers.
  • Similarly, because I am mindful of how many frames I am using, the images I choose to keep are no longer “perfect.”  They are, in fact, PERFECT.  See, with digital, I would take 10 or more frames of one scene.  Then, back at home, I would compare those 10 images ad nauseum until I decided which one was ‘just right’: mom’s hand is perfectly placed, dad is lifting his chin just the right amount, and the kids are perfectly spaced apart in frame #3 — it’s the keeper.  With film, I take just one frame per scene.  Thus, whatever appears on the negative is THE one.  And it is perfect.  It is authentic.
  • Film has its post-processing built in.  That is, the image is just right as it appears on the negative.  I do not need to adjust colors, or tones, or darken backgrounds, lighten faces, tweak fill light, or enhance features.  This is part of the magic of film.  And this leads to the end product being an authentic representation of the moment captured.  Film images are realistic representations of moments in time, not tweaked representations of moments in time.  I love this.
  • The simplest reason why I love film is that I love the look of it.  I love the grain.  I love the detail in the shadows.  I love the colors.  I just plain love it.  Isn’t that enough of a reason?!

(TechNotes: F100, HP5)

I learned that I love film when I realized that all of my favorite photographers were in fact shooting film.  And yes, I was surprised.  Some of these amazing people are: CJ NicolaiJaclyn Michele, Stacie Turner, Kirk Mastin, Jonathan Canlas, and Mitch Issel, just to name a very small handful.  I am proud to be a part of the film club and have learned that I love these people for much more than just their work.

Here’s the thing: film and me, we were just meant to be.  🙂


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