About two months ago I was digging around in my freezer contemplating the all of rolls of colour and black and white film that I have been hoarding for the last 15 years, most of which are out of date or quickly coming out of date. My first thought was that I should pack up the digital gear and do nothing but shoot film this summer. With that thought in mind I grabbed 4 rolls of out dated Tri-X, waited for them to warm up, put a roll in my Zeiss Super Ikonta and headed up to Peterborough to make some photos. I had another purpose for the trip which was to check out a show of photos that an acquaintance was having at Gallery in the Attic (side note: if you are interested in traditional photography talk to Liz she has a real darkroom up there).
I landed at my destination put the Zeiss on my shoulder and suddenly I felt the weight and consequence of shooting film. I never had a problem using film before why now? Maybe it has to do with the physical imprint that it leaves on an object on this planet (the emulsion). Maybe its the cost of the film. Maybe its the feeling of uncertainty about whether film will continue to exist and if I start enjoying its use again I may soon not able to get the film I like. Or a combination of all of those things. I think that I shot 3 or 4 frames that day, actually that roll is still in the camera as I write this. To be honest that day I didn’t shoot much more digital, only 8 frames, I hate say this but it did feel easier. After all digital is only 1’s and 0’s that if electricity, the correct computer and software combination are all working you might be able to display your image, they sort of don’t exist they take up no physical space. Hell if you don’t like what you get or the exposure is wrong poof you can press delete and all your worries are gone, film is a physical reminder of everything you have done in that split second.
I’m 41 as I write this. I grew up wasting/messing up/shooting film since the age of 11. I have only really been shooting digital for 10 of the 30 years that I have been taking photographs (part of the bridge generation of Photographers) and in those last 10 years I have been mixing in film and digital together about 1:4 respectively. However for the last 2 years I have almost never used film. The new mirrorless camera I bought has spoiled me making it so easy to achieve
good amazing results. In fact with that mirrorless camera I shoot it like a film camera, one shot, taking the time needed to achieve an image I will be happy to have taken, slowly exploring a subject. I feel that it is as close to shooting film as one can get with digital.
The Above was Originally written on June 29, 2015
Fast Forward a month to July 29, 2015
So to get over this I have in my bag, nestled next to the digital gear, my Zeiss and 2-4 rolls of film a small commitment. When I get the urge to shoot with it I do, however I’m not pushing myself to use film. It’s about what feels right for the situation. I start shooting when I feel film or the use of a square crop will benefit the image. To date I have shot 7 rolls a total of 77 images (my Zeiss folding camera only shoots 11 images per roll) and I have only seen 11 of them so far because the rest are sitting on my desk awaiting processing. I’m not a film evangelist however I still feel that the use of film will always have a place in my creative workflow. Film was never and will never be a fade or phase that I am going through it was my original medium.