What do you say?
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?
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".
Real men use Speed Graphics and flashbulbs.
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.
Originally Posted by jackie_like_the_chan
Last edited by CGW; 02-11-2012 at 08:31 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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.
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.
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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.
When asked if film is still available, the answer that usually comes to mind is: No!
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.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
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!"
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
"I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc
Well for me film is certainly not about brandwanking 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.
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.