Anyone else a little self-conscious about shooting film?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by tron_, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    So this is a really stupid thing to think about, I will go ahead and admit that. It's completely irrational and pretty ridiculous but I thought I would post it here and see if anyone else has felt the same way.

    First off, I'm a pretty young guy (23) and thankfully discovered film photography about 4 years ago. I think it goes without saying that we are all very passionate about analog photography here on Apug. Yes sometimes I still shoot d-d-d-d-d-******* but I would have to say that the split is 90/10 in favor of film at this point.

    When I go out to shoot photos I sometimes feel a little self-conscious about people seeing me out with a 35mm SLR, 35mm rangefinder, or my medium format setup and thinking that I am one of those "hipsters" doing it for the "cool factor". I think this has come from me (unfortunately) meeting people like this who are just into film because they think it will give their photos a "vintage" look. It just so happens that these people consistently put out horrible photographs trying to achieve that "look" of dirty, old, scratched up, washed out photos full of artifacts and imperfections.

    Now I don't want to look down on anyone, nor do I think I am gods gift to photography. But I am pretty happy with my progress over the years and see myself improving everytime I go out to shoot. I just feel that when people see me out with one of my film bodies, they assume I am one of these "hipsters" trying to look/act cool by carrying around a camera as a fashion accessory.

    This is something I have been thinking about for a month or so now and it's gotten to the point where I find myself not bringing my camera everywhere I go like I normally do because of conversations like the following:

    X: "Why do you always carry around a camera?"
    Me: "Because I like taking photos"
    X: "What do you take photos of?"
    Me: "Everything. Anything that looks interesting really."
    X: "Oh."


    Cliffs:
    -Thinks other people think I am a hipster for walking around with a film body
    -Feelsbadman
     
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    No, I have been using film for over 35 years and I guess I look like the typical WestCoast photographer, so film feels quite normal to me. And I don't really care what the general population thinks I look like.

    I did have someone recently ask if I was scanning (I had my 8x10 wood field camera)! But I also had one ~11 year old who was thrilled to see the image on the GG.
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I wouldn't wanted anyone to think I was cool!


    Steve.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Self concious about film? No
    Self concous about carrying camera and shooting pictures? Sometimes
    Do I let either of these change my behavior? Rarely.
     
  5. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    p.s.

    Do I envy digital camera users? Often... but only due to the immediacy of results.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Most people care FAR LESS about others unless it benefits them or hurts them. Some people has opinion about everything but I don't value those opinions unless I know they are valid.

    If someone asks me why do I carry a camera, I'd just say because photography is my hobby.

    I shoot both digital and film. It a choice of media, not the hobby. If someone wants to think I'm a hipster, oh well.... I am not sure if I care about those opinions because I know who I am....
     
  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Been shooting film for the better part of half a century, never felt self conscious about it ever. When I was a tad, my friends thought I was cool because I had a camera. As a teen, my friends thought I was cool because I had a dark room. As an adult, I was cool because I was a "pro" photographer. Now days people think I'm a dinosaur because I shoot film, but then they see my prints and think they are cool.
     
  8. ajs77306

    ajs77306 Member

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    You have a few things going on here, and some opportunities as well. First I would encourage you to get into the mindset which would enable you to not care so much about what others may think about your actions. Feeling self-conscious is a part of personality development as is becoming self-confident. My analog cameras range from a Nikon Nikkormat to a Nikon F6. Some of the newer models (Like the F100 and even the F6) are masked. What I mean is that unless someone sees the camera back, they would have no idea that you are not working in digital format. No matter what anyone says or thinks, working with film is "retro". There are many individuals working in film now that didn't before just to get that vintage look. That is why plastic cameras are so popular right now. Fine art photography is a different story, and that seems to be what you are most interested in. That's great, and there is a realization that comes with that. Analog photography means something now that it didn't mean before. That is, before digital photography became so very common. The new meaning is individualized, and up to you to define.

    If carrying around a bulky SLR feels self-conscious, try carrying around a small point-and-shoot camera. This may help you get used to working while others are around. You can also avoid crowded areas and street photography projects until you get more used to the camera being an extension of you. But remember also, that sometimes when working in arenas like public spaces, you may not want a big black artifact that makes you look and feel conspicuous. You may very well want a smaller instrument.

    Also consider that the conversations that you have been having are opportunities to interact with new people, and opportunities to describe your purpose
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2012
  9. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Being 55 years old, people just think I'm an old dinosaur who can't get with the program. It's understandable that you at your age would feel the way you do, opting for older and supposedly inferior technology. Like BrianShaw, carrying a camera and taking pictures makes me self-conscious, but using film does not - I feel the same way whether carrying a digital or film camera.
     
  10. ajs77306

    ajs77306 Member

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    This is a "Philosophy and Ethics" forum. As such, a more complex and philosophical response is appropriate. Also, I do type in complete sentences. No matter, the original question was complex and layered.

    If there was something specific that I typed that you felt was ambigious, please let me know and I will try my best to clarify.
     
  11. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    It wasn't what you wrote, but the extraneous "color", "font", etc that was rendering your messge illegible. Thanks for fixing that. I now understand your intended message. I also deleted my comment on that topic since it is resolved. :smile:
     
  12. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Sometimes, depending on the time and place I'm conscious of the camera.
    But for using film? Hardly. I use 35mm Nikons, a Rolleiflex Standard, a 4x5 and an 8x10. No choice but to use film. In the small town which I live in, I'm well known as a stubborn single minded eccentric. None of the locals even notice, just the touroids. Plus, I really don't give a damn if some TV/ pop 'culture' addict leaps to an inaccurate conclusion. It's their problem, not mine. :smile:
     
  13. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    As someone pointed out, just think, and if someone asks, respond, "that this is my hobby".

    Most people understand hobbies and they understand that lots of people may have hobbies that are a bit obscure, and they sort of seem to let things go. I mean some people built things, miniature ships, bird houses, some people collect stuff, some people hunt antiques, some people drink, some people climb sheer cliffs, etc etc.

    There is no logic necessarily associated with hobbies, it's just what people enjoy. And most people understand that.

    So if you like taking pictures whether analog of digital, small or large format, and you get the big quiz, you only need to respond that, "Hey dude, it's my hobby."

    And when wandering around with your camera, no need to feel self conscious, ....you're just doing your thing...... your hobby.
     
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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    A few years ago, someone I know stated "everyone does something which someone else will think is strange". So don't worry about. Do what you want.


    Steve.
     
  16. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I think it's an interesting question. Shooting film, to me, IS photography. I don't know much about digital cameras, and the only one I own is attached to my iPhone.

    Sometimes I use the light meter that's available for the iPhone when I travel light (it's surprisingly good), and I get some looks sometimes from people who think I'm nuts as it looks like I'm taking a picture with the iGadget, and then another with the film camera.

    In the end, I feel great about what I do. That's all that matters. When people ask about my camera I am usually very forthcoming and respectful about questions. Some go so far as to contest whether it's worth it to still shoot film, with all of the advantages of digital cameras and work flow, and I simply tell them that it gives me a hundred times more satisfaction to shoot film and print in the darkroom, that it's simply much more fun for me. In the same breath I tell folks that I fully understand why others might feel differently, but that I take pride in doing what I feel is right for me, going against the modern trend.
    So, there is no self consciousness going on regarding shooting film. Just pride, a grin on my face because I'm enjoying myself so much, and just a hair of satisfaction that once in a while it spurs a great conversation when people are open minded enough (and I try to return the favor, obviously).
     
  17. ajs77306

    ajs77306 Member

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    Now I understand what you meant. I agree with you, and have no idea why that had happened! Yes, I did correct that as soon as I noticed.
     
  18. batwister

    batwister Member

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    More self-conscious about shooting digital in public now. Main reasons - I sold all my EOS lenses, now left with the 18-55mm - average Joe is more aware of amateur/pro connotations of digital systems and I can hear them laughing at my 'toy' in their heads, and they are mostly right to laugh. It's silly, but I do feel inadequate shooting digital in public for this reason. But the digital only comes out for metering and test exposures anyway - it's put away quickly.

    Making photographs in public these days, with many a suspicious gaze, I feel it's important to photograph with authority and it just happens that a hefty (and loud) medium format camera helps with this. I certainly feel like more of a prat when I get my iPhone out - "what if a film photographer sees me!?"

    EDIT: I love that I'm using the term 'in public' as if photography, by default, should be practiced indoors. :blink:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2012
  19. btaylor

    btaylor Subscriber

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    Interesting topic. I frequently feel self concious using my old film gear. Not because of the hipster connotation though, as I am old. Just because it calls attention to me and what I'm doing, and I really don't want to interact with people when I'm in my "zone." I get the hipster thing, my kids have an opinion on that (they grew up in Hipster Central), and it's not complimentary. Just do your thing, make some good work and be proud of it.

    On a side note the "friendliest" camera I use is an old Rolleiflex TLR. Everyone smiles and likes it, young and old. Doesn't hurt that it is capable of taking outstanding photos, too.
     
  20. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Tron, your post made me laugh because I'm in the same situation. I visited the Freestyle storefront in Hollywood for the first time last week, and I left my camera in the hot car because it felt extremely tacky carrying the thing into the store with me. I'm 25.
     
  21. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Nope, not at all.

    There was a time when I did but no more.
     
  22. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    I feel a self awareness about using my mf and lf kits, but not self conscious in a negative way. Because I almost always use a tripod, there's not much I can do to be invisible, so I've learned to somewhat enjoy the attention it gets. I've never been scoffed at, or looked down on, rather just the opposite. People will not infrequently make a comment to the effect that "what you're doing is 'real' photography." If it leads to conversation, so much the better. I like and admire digicams, but don't use one, so I am certainly not sending out a snobby vibe, and find the engagement interesting.
     
  23. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    This is a good response, as the anxiety you feel is coming from you. Try and relax and don’t think as you wonder around with a camera. There is no angst; you are merely capturing light in a little box. Hope this doesn’t sound patronizing and hope it may help.
     
  24. cramej

    cramej Subscriber

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    Ahh, but you're only a hipster if you look the part, too.

    You could carry something bigger...the look of fear in other photographers' eyes (usually g/gwc's) is classic when I have my RB with a 180, prism, grip and flash in my hand.:laugh: They must think I'm going to beat them senseless.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I can understand feeling self-conscious about having a camera and using it "in public" but I doubt that most people are paying a lot of attention to the nature of what you are photographing with.

    Well some will no doubt notice that you are using film, most likely most of those will have used film in the past, and will understand that your choice is just that - a choice.

    If you are concerned about other's reactions, here is a test to try: Set your camera (medium format is most impressive) on a tripod and point it at something interesting. If people look interested, invite them to take a look through the viewfinder. I've had some really interesting discussions with strangers when I do this. And it has confirmed to me that people will appreciate what you do if you are clearly enthusiastic yourself.

    By the way, if you want to get over feeling self conscious about taking photographs in public, IMHO the best cure is to do some work for a newspaper with a copy deadline and a liking for big "Art".
     
  26. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    Why bother?

    You like taking pictures with a film camera. What other people thinks, is totally irrelevant.


    Enjoy!


    What I feel a bit bad about is the amount of water needed for the development, and the fact that I consume chemicals that are needed to be taken care of in order to not totally take a p*ss on mother nature (no, I don't just flush my used chems down the zink).