Now, before I even start talking about this subject, I need you to know a couple of things. First, I am very comfortable shooting film. It’s how I learned photography in school almost twenty years ago, and I used it extensively for the first ten years of my career. Second, over the past ten years I have grown out of the sentimental attachment that I once had to shooting film.
I might be from the old school of photography where we actually measured the light, and leveled the camera, and thoughtfully composed a scene, but like everyone else I kind of like the instant gratification that digital imaging offers. There, I said it, whew. That’s a load off. With that said, there are still some things that digital cameras cannot do that film cameras still can. There is a lot of wow left in film.
Take for example, my new spinner camera. Well, I say it’s new, I bought it last year, but only recently put my first rolls of film through it. This camera, along with film helps me achieve one of my main photographic goals which is to be able to show the world to people in a way they have not seen it before. Sometimes that’s compositional, sometimes through lighting or effects, but always the goal is to show things in a way that makes people sort of cock their head to the side, squint a little and ask: “How’d you get that”?
I admit that I have struggled lately to figure out how to best incorporate film into my shooting. Many photographers are jumping on the film bandwagon simply because it’s not digital and they can differentiate themselves from their competition. I have decided not to jump on that bandwagon for a number of reasons, the main one being a desire to remain authentic to my style. In reality, film images do look different from digital ones. Not really better, but different. A little softer, a little less contrast, with a little more grain. Film handles highlights in a beautiful way that even the best digital cameras can’t yet match. I call the look “buttery”.
The decision was made recently, that when I incorporate film into my work, (and I will) I will use it in ways that cannot be achieved with digital capture. No shooting film simply because it sounds cool, it has to look different, and it has to be different. The two examples in this post show what I mean. I got this camera that captures a 360 degree view. It spins in a complete circle in the blink of an eye and makes the world look very different than what you normally see. It even exposes over the sprocket holes for a really great look. I’ve used it on a few jobs already and will be posting those as I can.