People learning photography these days aren’t touched by the magic of experimenting with film. Typically, students who are new to the scene have never had the delight of going to the store and choosing which ISO is best for the situation you’re on your way to capture. They’re unaware of the anticipation that builds after you’ve snapped a shot and are subjected to wait days until you see the result. The back of the camera is a blank space, only there to protect the precious film from light, not to host a LCD screen that reveals results immediately. The original photography was “slow photography” and now it is making a return to the hearts of the curious.
These ten photographers are from all walks of life but all have chosen one passion to pursue: film photography. Find out why they choose film in the following quotes told to British Journal of Photography.
“It’s what I feel most comfortable shooting with. I used to shy away from it before because of the mistakes I would make, but now I don’t necessarily deem the mistakes with film as a negative. I like the idea of having to take my time with certain analogue cameras, especially when shooting portraits, because everything becomes a lot more personal. I’m now slowly trying to make sure I adjust to shooting on digital, just so it doesn’t feel completely alien to me – especially if I’m shooting a commission.” Adama Jalloh
“I shoot on film because I like that it makes me slow down, the whole process takes more consideration and thought. With only getting 12 shots per role I really need to think about what I am doing, and I love the sound of the shutter on my Hasselblad!
Everything just feels more magical with film. I photographed the orphanage bedrooms both on film and digital and the film ones were by far my favourite: the colours, textures, tones and shadows just had so much more depth.
I like to combine my images with sound and video too, so I mix things up a bit. For long term personal projects shooting on film is definitely my first choice.” Lynda Laird
“When I began learning about photography, I started on film. There was such an art to the process of it all and I fell in love. Later I moved into digital which eventually took all the passion out of it for me – so now I’ve fully committed to shooting using film 100% of the time
The process of developing the film is an art form, which I view in three parts: production, development and printing. At each stage you have the power to create your images using your own hands – and no image, roll of film, or print will ever be the same as the last. Being able to use my hands and essentially having ultimate control over what is being created is something I just don’t get when shooting on anything other than film.” Juliana Kasumu
“I work with film primarily for the process – the way it makes you slow down your practice, and makes you really think through every single exposure. I love the depth of colour and tone you achieve with film, and the experience and tangibility of the medium, whether that’s processing, scanning or printing. It is only beneficial to you, refining your practice. There is also something very special about how viewing through ground glass can somehow make anything become more beautiful.” Barnaby Kent
“The conversation that occurs while photographing my subjects is essential to creating their portrait. Film makes me slow down, which helps my subjects feel like they can take their time revealing their stories. My camera feels durable, it is an extension of myself. The way I have to hold my Mamiya feels like dancing. For me, film is more than just the material I use – it is a feeling.
I am attracted to film because it helps me pay attention to detail. With only 10 frames per roll I feel that each frame is an opportunity to tell a story. It has trained me to pay close attention to the details of my subject. It is an attention that they notice, and I find is often appreciated. I believe film helps me learn more about my subject than digital does. It allows for a connection.” Rhombie Sandoval
“When I first started taking up photography in a serious way, I exclusively used film and loved it. About 10 years ago my camera gear was stolen and with it all of my undeveloped film rolls. At that time I made the switch to digital.
About 4 years ago, though, I started to shoot film again a little and found that I was seriously missing it. I loved the way that it made me slow down and be more thoughtful about the pictures I was making. Now I have shot almost all of my personal work in the past year and a half with film. I have transitioned back to film.
I also like having an actual, physical thing to hold. It’s the same reason that I publish and collect zines; it’s nice when something exists off of the computer.” Nathan Pearce
“I photograph on film because it determines a certain way of working.
I often photograph with a large-format camera, and I liked using it for this work because it interested many of the people I photographed – as did the old style photographic techniques I needed to carry out to operate the camera.
They had never seen such equipment before and it was a new experience for them – it really helps a lot and lessens the distance and unfamiliarity. On the other hand, I had a limited number of shots which made me have to concentrate and focus more on what I was doing. However, there are situations where photographing on film is difficult or impossible. That’s when I reach for a digital camera and I have no problem with that.” Kamil Śleszyński
“Besides the aesthetic benefits, nothing works with light better than film. I embraced the craft, self-developing film has immersed me ever deeper within my process. The big draw is the intimacy and pace afforded by using film. It slows me down, makes every frame count, and the speed of working with film permits more talking and importantly, more listening. Working with film takes me ever closer to the person that I’m making a photograph with.” Jim Mortram
“The Last Stand was shot on film using a large format 5×4 camera. This camera was chosen specifically for this work as it gave me the essential movements I needed for this work combined with the large negative of 5×4 colour film.
The use of film was important for the soft and subtle tonality of the scenes I was photographing and the images I was making.” Marc Wilson
“I shoot on film because I enjoy the slow process – I like to take my time with photography, I don’t churn out images and projects daily like some are able to do. I like to wait for the images to come back to me after a few weeks of taking them, you’re left with less chances to get it right every time you take a shot so you have to focus a lot harder.
I plan my shoots rigorously and have an idea in my head of what I want to photograph and how it will look before I pick up a camera. But film, as I mentioned earlier, can sometimes throw up some interesting twists which can either add something to your work if you embrace it, or diminish it if you don’t accept the lack of control.” Harry Rose
Read the full article at: www.bjp-online.com