What do you say?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by jackie_like_the_chan, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. jackie_like_the_chan

    jackie_like_the_chan Member

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    I know that this has probably been brought up a couple times. I'm taking a photography class and I'm really enjoying it, I love the atmosphere and I love enlarging and everything about it. Unfortunately, every time I'm asked what I study or what I'm doing and I answer, I almost always get the same response...
    "Really? I didn't know they made film anymore! What is the point when you can just use your phone? It just seems so pointless now..."
    This normally sets me back. What do I say? I normally just say its an art form and leave it at that, but I always feel a little deflated. My question to everybody though, is what do you say? Does everybody answer this way?
     
  2. brian d

    brian d Member

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    My reply will vary according to the attitude of the person asking but , the point I always get across is "because I like doing it this way and that's all that matters to me".
     
  3. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Film quality has never been better. Ask 'em where and how they can get a print from their phonecam. Even an OK quality b&w machine print from a 6x7 neg usually ends the dumb questions once they hold one in their hands. Make your own music.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2012
  4. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    If the person who asks me has a snarky attitude I usually respond that I prefer quality over convenience. If they are genuinely curious I will explain how film (especially medium format and larger) has higher resolution, film forces a person to think about each shot because you can't delete a frame after you push the shutter button. I also tell them you can process black and white film with coffee and that film is just more fun.
     
  5. lesm

    lesm Member

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    I usually talk about the pleasure of crafting a print by hand rather than sitting in front of a computer and letting Photoshop have all the fun. Also talk about the tactile, sensual joy of using a solid manual film camera instead of a buzzing, beeping digital. As for "what's the point", there is no point really - it's a quite pointless exercise, like painting, sculpture, music-making or any other artistic pursuit. It's just something that satisfies my urge to create. I try not to run down digital - it has its place and indeed I've seen some amazing photos taken with mobile phones - but as a photographer I simply prefer the process and results I get from working with analogue equipment.

    It's a simple response to a common question, which I don't regard as dumb but as genuine curiosity.
     
  6. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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    I enjoy the process, it allows me to slow down and really look, and I love having a print that I made from the time the shutter is released until it's a print in my hand.
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    When asked if film is still available, the answer that usually comes to mind is: No! :smile:
    That puzzles most people, since the obvious follow-up question is: 'How did you get it, then?', and they have their little Aha! moment.

    But I do believe in being polite, and explain how much I love the whole work flow, seeing and transforming a picture from exposure to finished print, mostly with my own hands and brain power. Most people respect that, even though they might prefer their alternative. But it gives them a positive idea of film, darkroom, and users of it.
     
  8. papagene

    papagene Membership Council

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    I use an old Kodak 2D 5x7 for the simple reason that it is FUN to use. I just bought a Rolleicord and that also is fun to use. My two Fuji MF rangefinders are a pleasure to use. I like photographing still lifes with a Calumet Cadet 4x5. Convenience has nothing to do with my photography. Since I don't have as much time for photography, dambit, I am gonna enjoy the process.

    All you need to say is "This camera is fun to use!"
     
  9. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Reason is very simple , I love engineering qualities of Leica lenses. If I buy a 80 years of old Leica , it costs me 500 dollars or so. It takes 500 lines per milimeter shots. If I buy a 30 years of old Leica lens , it is worse as a half and costs 2 times more.
    If I buy a 1 years of old Leica camera , for same quality it costs 30000 dollars or so.
     
  10. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Well for me film is certainly not about brandwanking :whistling: Quite the opposite.

    Anyway... I've never once heard anybody imply to me that film is pointless, or say why don't you just use a 16 megapixel whatever (actually I do, and it makes a nice colour meter). The usual question is: wow can I look? That's cool! How does it work? and... you must be a professional. And of course, like Suzanne, my comment is usually some variant of "because it's fun and I don't like black boxes."

    People are simply curious. No need to be defensive or to deliver an erudite soliloquy on art or feel the need to speak in lp/mm and MTF and all that. If you're confident in what you do then all of that is secondary.
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I just tell them I only occasionally use the camera in my cell phone to check the lighting before I use my proper film camera to take the picture.
     
  12. jslabovitz

    jslabovitz Member

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    Like @papagene, I too try to relate my enjoyment of the process. People like having fun, and are jealous of other people having fun when they are not.

    I've found it's a bit like talking about cooking: the process may be daunting to most people, most people understand the tastiness of the results. Yet there is always someone who will never understand why you don't just use the cheapest prepackaged mixes; it's impossible to convert those folks, so don't try.

    And I've had more than one digital photographer admit that they want to try shooting film. I'm happy to go out shooting with them and lend 'em a film camera for the day.
     
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Talking tech, IMO, is a pointless battle in a digital vs film discussion. For me the debate is mostly emotional.

    The assumption in most of those debates seems to be that the same result is expected and that the same process (mine of course because I'm right :wink: :whistling:) will work for everyone.

    Heck, in the real world it's tough to get landscape and portrait shooters on the same page about choosing exposure. Slide shooters and negative shooters see things differently. Pictorialist's vs f/64, journalistic vs posed style. Hurrell vs HCB.

    To that end I'll answer; "Because I find using film fun and it helps me think differently about my shots and I don't want my photos to be like everybody else's."
     
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  15. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Camera is only an equipment. Film is only a media.

    Photograph is a result of both of that AND the person holding the camera.

    Skills and vision you obtain using your film camera will translate to other form of equipment. This being a class, you are learning the process, not really the equipment. It's pointless to try to explain to someone who doesn't see a value in what you do. If he/she is happy with cell phone snap shot, that's all he/she needs.

    Prevalence of high grade plastic didn't obsolete clay. People still walk when car will take them there. Film photography will probably exist for decades although it may fade away from everyday uses.
     
  16. MDR

    MDR Member

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    ""Really? I didn't know they made film anymore! What is the point when you can just use your phone? It just seems so pointless now..."
    Seems to me like they don't know what to make of it or how to respond to your preference. I usually answer I prefer the organic look of film to the clean digital look and that I want to be able to view my photos when I am older" Sometimes I wax poetics about the magic of the darkroom an image appearing magically on a white sheet of paper and the contemplativness of the process.

    Dominik
     
  17. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I always want to live a simple life , like an shepherd in the mountain , an villager at the village but my life is more complex. I did not take a single picture to be applaused by the others. Keith , reread what you are talking about.
     
  18. HowardDvorin

    HowardDvorin Member

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    I usually say,"yes film is still availble and I enjoy the process."

    I stop at that point. In my mind that says it all.

    Howard Dvorin
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i usually tell them my phone is a 8year phone ( take it out and show them )
    and then i say film is still around, harder to find sometimes ... and its kind of fun
    to shoot blind and they should try it ...
     
  20. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I have my own darkroom at home but I occasionally use the darkroom at the university where I work. I know the photography teacher and he lets me use the darkroom in exchange for cleaning up the place, taking out the trash and acting as a darkroom monitor. A fair trade, I think. :smile:

    One night, I was in the darkroom after hours and the ceramics teacher came by and said, "Are you still using film?"

    Without missing a beat, I said, "Are you still making pots out of clay?"

    Haven't heard any comments since then... :wink:
     
  21. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I got asked this very question just a few days ago. I had a nice conversation with the other photographer (who was using a Canon 60D DSLR). I explained that I prefer the look of film, especially black and white film that I develop myself. I said that although I often scan the negatives, I do have access to a darkroom and that nothing compares to a real optical print. Finally I told her how I also make my own developers sometimes, and that this process is more "hands on" than digital could ever be (for me at any rate). I think she understood my point.
     
  22. papagene

    papagene Membership Council

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    Great answer!! :D
     
  23. Maris

    Maris Member

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    I say a 'phone or digital camera can make pictures but those pictures aren't really photographs, haven't got the same relationship to subject matter as photographs, and don't deliver a photographic quality viewing experience to me. If I want an authentic photograph, not a virtual one, then nothing touched by data-based technology is worth looking at.
     
  24. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    The answer I would give is that film has physical integrity. It is not a lot of numbers waiting for arrangement, but a physical capture of the image. In short it has the here, right now, zen existance.
     
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  25. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I might say something like, "Oh, I have many tools at my disposal and film cameras do some things much better than my cell phone. When I am seriously interested in creating images, my choice is film because of its ability to give me the results I find most pleasing. I also enjoy the processes involved in producing my images with a film camera."
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i don't know exactly what you mean ...
    a sensor isn't light sensitive, an image isn't drawn with light ?
    having a cellphone image light jet printed
    through a sophisticated enlarger head
    onto light sensitive paper and souped in chemistry
    at a mini lab isn't drawn with light ?

    its like suggesting slides aren't authentic ...

    i don't think authenticity has much to do with it ...
    it is just a different technology ... one isn't more authentic or photographic than the other ..