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keithwms
05-07-2008, 09:11 PM
Certainly everyone is entitled to their own views of 35mm. I wouldn't want to get into film vs. digital, my initial point was that we should avoid coopting digispeak because that jargon is not natural in the film context. We should be willing to consider 35mm rollfilm on its own merits as a marvellous and extraordinarily versatile documentary and artistic medium.

Let me just encourage those who disagree with Michel's point of view to pen their own thoughts, perhaps using the blog feature of the site. Then we might be able to have a sensible thread in which differening points of view are considered, rather than just snippets here and there.

P.S. Ray, I only just discovered the "ignore" feature, if I'd known about it earlier then I wouldn't've responded initially and that might not have baited further discussion. So, my bad I guess.

Michael W
05-08-2008, 04:47 AM
I haven't read the original article, but it sounds like elitism to me.
Why not an essay in support of 110? Anyone want a fight? :)

arigram
05-08-2008, 05:15 AM
My gods, I can't believe that this article has gathered such bitterness and poison!
I found it lovely and well written and much in accord with my thoughts of photography even though I do MF.
Its one thing to disagree and state with civility your opinion and another to lash out madly as if your hurt toe was stepped upon. Do so many people find broomsticks up their ass a fashionable attire?

Michel Hardy-Vallée
05-08-2008, 08:44 AM
Ari, I find it surprising as well, because while I have got some strongly opinionated responses on other forums, it did not reach the paroxysmic poison of D v. A fights.

Anyway, back on topic--and thank you Ari for the kind words--I guess the starting point for thinking about 35mm was the book "The Antiquarian Avant-Garde: The New Wave in Old Processes." It's a great book for those who are interested in both contemporary art and analog photographic processes. Organized by process (wet plate, dag, calotype, cyanotype, etc) it makes a survey of current artists using them (Chuck Close, Sally Mann, etc).

The general tone of the book was that contemporary photographic artists are going back to older processes not out of nostalgia, but because of how it enables them to see. Collodion's unique tonalities and defects are integral to Sally Mann's work, for instance.

Yet I could not avoid the thought that these processes are used because they are not current anymore, and are of a generation preceding silver gelatin with which contemporary artists grew. It's the grandparents effect: rebel against your parents, but bond with the grandparents.

35mm in particular seemed to be the "parent" because it has been the starting point for so many photographers. On the other hand, nobody alive was ever introduced to photography via the daguerreotype.

So I guess I'm writing for the no so distant future here, when silver gelatin itself will be the grandfather to the lensless video-still-holographic integrated picture gizmo.

Paul Goutiere
05-08-2008, 10:10 AM
http://creativeimagemaker.co.uk/mod/resource/view.php?id=49

By yours truly thank you very much!

I've been writing that article a few weeks ago, but the recent APUG discussion on 35mm
(http://www.apug.org/forums/forum52/48568-can-t-give-up-35mm-4.html) coincides nicely with the publication.

It's a good article. Says about what I think, and added some I hadn't thought of.

For myself the concern isn't whether one system is better than the other, but what I'm comfortable with. Since I'm a total amateur it won't make a difference what format I shoot because in the end I don't have to answer to anyone.

35mm has one particular advantage over digital, for me, in that I now own a fair amount of (elderly) film gear and don't feel obliged yet to replace it.

My only (perhaps unsubstantiated ) fear will be the possibility of 35mm color print and slide film becoming unobtainable or really crappy. I believe B&W films in all formats will be with us for a while ( thinks me hopefully) because it may be a bit of a niche market anyway.

The only thing that will keep the stuff around will be that enough of us use it, otherwise ...........?

JBrunner
05-08-2008, 12:32 PM
I haven't read the original article, but it sounds like elitism to me.
Why not an essay in support of 110? Anyone want a fight? :)

I did read the article. I prefer to shoot 8x10. Am I elitist? Or does that format simply appeal to me for various reasons?

Most of the reasons people choose a format have to do with the artifacts of process than some benchmark of performance, once a photographer is beyond a certain point.

The entire thing can be summed up on the header of APUG:

"That is called grain. It is supposed to be there." -Flotsam

Those that argue benchmarks and megawatts are very much like a fisherman with a 1000's of lures and flies who measures success by what they think they have, and what they think it can do, rather than what he has done and might do.

Ever notice the copious galleries of impeccable images put up by the loudest and the biggest of the critics and pontificators?

Nuff said.

Christopher Walrath
05-08-2008, 07:59 PM
Yeah, I should just let him drop like a fish. I know I didn't have to respond. But he was bashin' the hell out of Michel's well written opinion. I shoulda let it go. But . . .

I am a contributor at Creative Image Maker as well and congratted Michel early on in this thread. I reiterate that I loved the article.

I don't wanna fight. Can't we all get along?!?

And yes, this is Sean's site and you are right. I have no problem with the site whatsoever. I am glad for the opportunity to support it. If I could I would give him more. This IS a bastion for film photography on the web. But more importantly, this is a bastion for photography. For techniques and tips. For its history and its future. For the large and the small (film format and photographer's physique alike). This is the greatest photography community on the web IMHO.

As photographers, regardless of our chosen medium, we should never attack another photographer merely for a disagreeing of their views, even if it affronts ourself personally. We should be better than that. I should be better than that. In my attempt to pass it on I should strive to include a good example along with the knowledge. If anyone was put off with what I said, yeah, even Brett, I am sorry. The words were said in front of the whole forum so that is where the apology should be. I am sorry.

Simplicius
05-13-2008, 09:22 AM
My gods, I can't believe that this article has gathered such bitterness and poison!
I found it lovely and well written and much in accord with my thoughts of photography even though I do MF.
Its one thing to disagree and state with civility your opinion and another to lash out madly as if your hurt toe was stepped upon. Do so many people find broomsticks up their ass a fashionable attire?

I could not agree more with the sentiment above, I too liked the article, the 'syntax' analogy was excellent and like all good articles it provoked thought...... so here comes mine.

my credentials firstly: I got my first SLR 35 mm camera Nov 2007, I did a course in a local gallery in B&W photography, I have to date developed at home 20 rolls of B&W 35 mm film and about 40 colour rolls have come back from labs. so I am damned experienced! ;)

my thoughts about 35mm, I like it, I just do, why question it, the results are sometimes very variable but I care not because it is creation from composition to printing.

I think of my Mother and her home baked apple pie, she still persists in buying cooking apples, peeling chopping adding sugar etc and crafting it on a plate and cooking when she could walk down the road and get one off the shelf with a guaranteed taste. Why do I not think her mad why is each time a mini adventure, will the apples be sweet or sour? will it be overdone or soggy? Each time is different, each time builds on the last (a bit like the way each roll of film for me is building like a story, even though the subjects are different).

You wouldn't question my mother about home baking, would you? So why question me as to why I use 35mm?

Just a thought from the base of the learning curve looking up!

Simplicius

Defying logic since 1878

thebdt
05-13-2008, 08:54 PM
It was an interesting article, with a lot of thoughtful points about film and formats. I just don't see one of the main points, however. I "grew up" in Photoshop over 9 years ago, at the height of the dot-com boom. To me, back then, Photoshop was the supreme web graphics editor; it wasn't its fault that it just happened to start out life as a photo-editor. As my experience with Photoshop grew, I learned the importance of visual communication. I had been an English major in college, writing essays, reading novels, literary theory, etc. Now, I had to learn to communicate via web banners, button graphics, and the like.

As my prowess with Photoshop grew, I began to respect the photographic image. It was "source material!" That magic land where images come from, images for my new found Photoshop ninja skills of color correction, masking, layering, compositing, etc.

Years and years (and a great deal of age and wisdom) later, I came to digital photography. It was thrilling! My first digital camera, a 3 MP Kodak Point-and-shoot, was marvelous! I was used to working in terms of hundreds of pixels: now I had millions! OMGWTFBBQ! Having been forced into efficient images doing web work, in much the same way that Hemmingway picked up his writing style while working for a newspaper, I couldn't believe the VOLUMES within each image. Screw 1,000 words, it wasn't a question of words! A carefully composed picture was a unique space all unto itself.

Then I discovered B&W film, and soon after that, Efke film. I was shooting at megapixel counts barely dreamed of by digital 35mm shooters. I was buying true, advanced SLR film cameras for the same price as mid-range digital point-and-shoots! OMGWTFBBQ+SAUCE!!! 35mm B&W film, scanned or printed, is just worlds away from that 65 x 145 pixel banner I was so used to filling almost a decade ago. It was the difference between a boogie board and a Trump yacht.

So I can't conceive of a 35mm film image as a "snippet," as a mere fraction of a whole statement. I agree entirely that 35mm film is still a unique and worthwhile format; being made to wait to see what you've got puts you in a different mindset, and as much as we don't want to be labeled megapixel queens, 35mm B&W film is the most megapixels many of us can reasonably afford (unless someone would care to buy a top-of-the-line Canon DSLR for me, cuz it's so, you know, trivial to lay down $10k). Well, that's not true, I do have a couple medium format cameras, and one 4x5 I have yet to actually use. But, as far as off-the-cuff or street photography, 35mm film is awesome. And we don't even need to get into portraiture; a single frame of 35mm film, a portrait, is an encyclopedia of information on its subject.

At least, that's my point of view. I do certainly agree with the other points in the essay, though.

Colin Corneau
05-13-2008, 09:33 PM
Two thoughts come to mind on reading this:

1) DSLRs strike me as akin to a machine gun, 35mm (and most other formats) film seem more like a sniper rifle. Sorry for the violent analogy, but there you go.

2) Never forget that most of the images that inspired us to be photographers were taken with 35mm film. Even if they didn't, the power of images crafted in that way are just as valid and real today as the day they were made -- from images of your community in the local paper to ones of war overseas.

Michel Hardy-Vallée
05-13-2008, 10:17 PM
So I can't conceive of a 35mm film image as a "snippet," as a mere fraction of a whole statement. (SNIP) But, as far as off-the-cuff or street photography, 35mm film is awesome. And we don't even need to get into portraiture; a single frame of 35mm film, a portrait, is an encyclopedia of information on its subject.


I cut your paragraph in two to better illustrate which way I swing concerning a 35mm frame as a "snippet." One way to understand snippet is as a low amount of data, measurable in bits (the first part of your paragraph). Another way of understanding a snippet is as a fragment of reality that is not fully explained by history, context, or storyline.

So we could say there is a "quantitative" and a "qualitative" way of defining "snippet." I'm going for the latter in my article, because I don't want to get into the acrimonious discussions concerning the quantitative aspect of data in a photograph.

Street photography is one among many other examples of 35mm photography's ability to snatch narrative fragments of reality. My metaphor of novel/anecdote/word is more related to the narrative length of photos.

My impression from large format photography is that it often tries to pack as much and as complete as possible a story about its subject. It's like a big Zola novel: it will not only describe the doorknob physically, but it will give you a sense of its place in the world, its history, and the social class of its maker.

With 35mm, you get instead interrupted gestures, events happening below the threshold of conscious visual perception, surrealistic flickers of life, incomplete and uncertain origins, natures, and destinations.

Anyway, I'm just expounding a few points here in response to your post, but I'm also very glad you took the time to read and comment the article!

clayne
02-28-2009, 04:07 AM
The memory/narrative argument I'm trying to make is to show that 35mm is a particular interface, a particular way of dealing with the world.

Of course, I had to coat it all with layers of rhetorical flourishes and poetry, but that's how I was feeling that day...

So what exactly are you saying then? It's not necessarily about 35mm format at all, but more about roll film (which 35mm format usually is).



I cut your paragraph in two to better illustrate which way I swing concerning a 35mm frame as a "snippet." One way to understand snippet is as a low amount of data, measurable in bits (the first part of your paragraph). Another way of understanding a snippet is as a fragment of reality that is not fully explained by history, context, or storyline.


Michel, honestly? It really comes off that you're secretly obsessed with the resolution differences that you're claiming aren't the point in the first place.