Shooting film in a digital world-a mini documentary

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by jwd722, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. jwd722

    jwd722 Member

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  2. momus

    momus Member

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    They've romanticized it up quite a bit. I shoot film because it looks better. No other reason is necessary.
     
  3. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    I shoot film because I can't fit an 1858 Derogy Petzval on my Nikon


    Kent in SD
     
  4. Colin DeWolfe

    Colin DeWolfe Member

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    This is awesome. Shared
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    That was great! Love it, thanks.

    Jeff
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    An easy and enjoyable read. No mention though of one critical fact: film lasts and lasts.
     
  7. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Firstly I'm a firm believer of people shooting what makes them happy.

    Similarly I think they should belong to whatever religion makes them happy. But this so called documentary is like going to someone's church and sitting there listening to the preacher and going WHAT. He said WHAT?

    And the preaching to the choir audience are sitting there and nodding their heads with his every word.

    Now to caveat, I've shot somewhere around 10,000 rolls of color and black and white film, almost all 120.

    But these people interviewed with the exception of the guy at the 30 minute mark were mostly just full of shit. Analog doesn't allow you to slow down, over using digital. You can use digital as slow as an 8x10 if you choose to. Nobody is forcing you to machine gun the camera. Nobody is forcing you to chimp. Nobody is forcing you to shoot in auto mode. Nobody is forcing you to not work with your subjects. Almost every explanation was just nonsense. If you don't have the self control to work slowly with digital or even motordrive auto everything 35mm film, that is your short coming not the system's.

    The number one reason anyone would shoot film over digital is they like the look which CAN BE different. Isn't always, but CAN BE.

    The number two reason, is because you want to be different. Which is the same reason you dress like a goth or like a lumberjack. No logic, but choose to look different. Fine do what you want. But making up silly reasons for it is immature.

    Every other reason is just self delusion, or made up nonsense.

    Plus if you want to have fun watching the film, read the subtitles. Hilarious.

    This is merely a puff piece sponsored by Kodak to manipulate people to shoot film again. Besides, if they really want to see what film should look like they should have visited some photographers from APUG, not the duds they did interview.

    It's a romantic ad, just like sitting in matching bath tubs outside as the sun goes down, dreaming about your new erection thanks to the magic of Big Pharma.
     
  8. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I agree with everything Blansky said except I don't buy the number one reason anyone would shoot film over digital is they like the look. I think at this point, given how far digital cameras and printers have come in terms of quality, that is baloney. I'm 100% analog, but I have to admit to myself at this point it has nothing to do with analog being better or looking different. It is strictly a matter of preference for darkroom work over computer work, and also that analog is what I know how to do. I have no interest in digital workflow, and that's about it. Coming up with other reasons seems mildly delusional.
     
  9. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    I didn't enjoy the film (especially the music!!) and found the reasons that people gave were not matched by the images shown.

    The reasons that I shoot analogue are:

    • The final result. For me, there is a very real and tangible difference between a well crafted B&W fibre print and a well crafted digital print.
    • The taking process: Whilst in the video the implication was that analogue makes you shoot slow and carefully (tell that to Gary Winogrand!!), what I like is that there is time between loading the film, finishing and processing it and printing it. Usually, I file my negatives away for several months before looking at them again. This 'distance' works for my work. No matter how hard I have tried not to look at the pesky LCD on a digital camera, I just can't stop myself.
    • The finishing process: I sit long enough at a computer and do not want to spend even more time. I find working in the darkroom far more pleasant with time just for me (no phones, e-mails, etc). Also, I find the process of choosing the negatives, deciding how I want to interpret them and realising this vision to be particularly rewarding. However, the most important thing is the cumulative time I spend with each and every one of my photographs. In comparison to editing in photoshop and printing the image out, the wet process requires a long time looking at the print (dev, fix, wash), working with the print (toning, washing, drying) and evaluating the print (checking that it is what I wanted, flattening, checking that it is what I wanted, dry mounting the print, checking that it is what I wanted, placing in a window matt and framing).
    • I have been doing analogue so long I don't want to change (actually, I have been working with digital since the Mac IIcx came out with Knowle software – better known now as Photoshop – for commercial work).
    • Analogue photography is cheaper. Yes, digital saves the cost of film but to achieve the quality I want requires investing in expensive cameras, an expensive computer, and an expensive printer – all of which will need to be replaced within 5 years. On top of this there is also the cost of premium inks and expensive paper.
      I don't believe the archival hype for digital 'has been tested for 200 years aging' – yeh right! what they mean is that it has been tested by simulating 200 years exposure to ??? lumens. When I sell a print I want to be sure that it is going to last. We have actual proof of this because there are plenty of photographs around today that were made over 170 years ago with inferior materials, no knowledge of archival processing, no knowledge of presenting them with acid free board nor knowledge that the frames need to be sealed against aerial pollutants.

    Bests,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  10. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Yeah, archival has always been a big deal for me as well. Back to the seventies when we were lied to by Kodak about the archival abilities of color paper which turned yellow/green in 5 years and up to when I shot portraits exclusively in black and white in the early 2000.

    I agree it's not clear whether the tests they do for digital are valid or not, but someone once said to me that just because an analog black and white print from over a hundred years ago is still pristine does not mean a relatively new black and white print will be also. Different chemistry, different papers and different pollutants than there were back then.

    So you have to do your best and try for the optimal quality of the materials available I guess.
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I shoot film because that's what my cameras take.
     
  12. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Ya can't beat practicality.
     
  13. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    I agree with you, Michael, except for the above quotation. As Michael R stated in POST #8, I shoot film and make silver prints because I enjoy the process from start to finish. I work on computers at my job and use them in my life. When I want to be creative I look to a hands on process, silver photography. Photography for me is not a profession, only a passion. So I would say that there is a clear 3rd reason which is neither self delusion nor made up nonsense.
     
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  15. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I didn't watch the video because I'm busy not working and don't want to make that too obvious to the other people in the meeting, but from the little bit of text and the images on the page, I notice a few things:

    1) I don't see anything intrinsically "film" about those photos. The first one has the characteristic lo-fi-Instagram look, which of course is inspired by imitating certain types of analog images; and I guess that image exemplifies how successful it's been. In one of those tail-chasing anxiety-of-influence situations, we're now at the point where film can look like it's imitating digital imitating film!

    2) The title refers to some *pro* photographers shooting film, which ought to obviate certain reasons discussed in this thread. "Fixer smells good" is a good reason to pick a workflow as a hobbyist photographer, but using criteria like that for professional work seems like an invitation to commercial failure. I suppose there are exceptions for people whose preference for "real" darkroom processing is so strong that it enables them to do more salable work, and for that tiny sliver of fine-art photographers who make a living on sales of platinum prints or what-have-you, but basically all the putative romance and charm seem to me like they'd be distractions from the business of making a living.

    3) I'm annoyed by the either-or mentality about film and digital, and the seeming inability of many people to just shut up and let photographers shoot what they please when they please, without public navel-gazing about the cultural implications of that choice. But I guess live-and-let-live doesn't get people to click on the headline.

    4) Fixer does smell good. At least, acid fixer does, but TF-5 is more practical; and I've ended up with TF-5, so I guess I privilege pragmatism over romance?

    5) Agreed with others about the archival (or at least "persistent") aspects of film. I've got a cabinet full of slides and negatives that I expect will still be viewable in a couple of generations; those couple of generations can worry about what to do with them, but in the meantime the only backup plan needed is "don't let the house burn down". I was trying to do that anyway.

    -NT
     
  16. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I would agree there is no technical or aesthetic reason to prefer film, but I just prefer the medium, in the same way that someone may prefer to make silk screens or paint or make lino cuts, whatever.
     
  17. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    projecting slides is cool....ooops I guess Kodak doesn't want to mention that!
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I know how to make good looking prints in the darkroom, and I enjoy having physical objects to work with. I just can't get into using my computer to scan negs or import files and then working in the digital domain to get my final picture. I just don't like it. Being in the darkroom, however, with trays of chemicals, boxes of paper, safelights, print washer, etc, it all gets my juices flowing and I can disconnect from the rest of the world for a while. That is the beauty for me. Playing with toners, flattening prints, spotting prints - it all is just on a whole different level of satisfaction to me and my senses.
    When I photograph with film, I also have an instinct from all of the years in the darkroom, where the whole work flow from exposing the film to toning the prints repeats itself in an instant in my subconscious, as I frame the shot. It's like I can feel what happens next, like dominoes it's like a chain reaction in my brain that dictates what I do with the camera. It's so ingrained in how I work with the camera that I just wouldn't want to even try to change it.

    Whenever I borrow a digital camera and shoot with it, I end up basically loading the pictures on my computer, and then nothing ever happens with them. The only time I use digital photographs to any extent is when I use the iPhone and post something on Facebook or Twitter. I have, a couple of times, shot something with the iPhone, made a digital negative of the file, and printed a lith print on silver paper. That works really well, but even after creating the digital negative and printing it, I just failed to see the point.
     
  19. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    When this video came out I was surprised at the amount of negative reaction from film photographers. I think that you've got to put it in perspective: It's some guys who run a film lab, going on a road trip and talking to people (probably their clients) about why THEY shoot film. Most of all it's just fun.

    We all have our own reasons for shooting film or digital or whatever... Best not to get too worked up about why other people do it. Just be glad that they do.

    That being said, if you watch another recent doc, Everybody Street, you'll hear some of the most famous New York photographers saying the same kinds of things about why they prefer film.
     
  20. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Like it or not, one day in the future that is all you will have. The thing you are sitting at to view and respond on APUG.
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    And that's when I pick up painting, drawing, or sculpture. :smile:
     
  22. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    There is always wetplate and the like.
     
  23. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    You're absolutely right and Michael R is also. We all come to these discussions from a different mindset/life experience/preference.

    Mine is professional feasibility, enjoyment, and ease of use and I see the world through those eyes. I got very tired of spending all those hours in the darkroom on a daily basis, and love working in the light. Half the time I'm on APUG I'm working on the other computer right beside it retouching and printing. I absolutely get that people who work on computers all day are sick of them.

    So I agree that the love of the process is a major reason for people to use one or the other.
     
  24. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I often wonder about the difference between people like me that switched to digital and other people who shoot it but never ever experienced analog in the first place.

    I'm like someone who is English speaking, learning to speak French and translating it all in their head for a long time before it becomes natural.

    My experience with digital was to mentally translate analog to digital in almost everything I did during the transition, which was scan first for a year then shoot digital later.

    But for me it was a goal oriented reason because I needed to use Photoshop.
     
  25. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I think that gives you a bit of a bias. Not a bad one, mind you, but when a lot of us complain of how people take pictures today letting the computer think for them, we are probably not referring to someone who approaches the issues as you do.
     
  26. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    I do all my darkroom work at night, so I never miss one second of "working in the light" if I don't want to.

    Unless of course you mean artificial light, which doesn't do a thing for me beyond being handy for reading after dark.