Just about every time I have one of the big cameras out, I have a conversation or two about them.
For Thanksgiving, we had a friend in town who had just come from the Macy's parade, and she seemed a little embarrassed about what she thought of as her big clunky Olympus P&S, while everyone else had a tiny digital camera, but I explained that it's a perfectly good camera for her use. She gets prints to share and a CD to email photos to her family and friends. Digital means getting on the upgrade cycle, dealing with a printer and the costs of paper and ink, probably replacing her computer, and not necessarily getting a better result in the end, and if she doesn't actually have the time to make prints, things never get printed and the files eventually end up on some unreadable medium, if they don't get transferred every few years. Prints can survive in a shoebox.
Last Thursday, a pro photographer friend of mine, who had been all digital until she finally succumbed to my subversive influence, brought two of her younger students (~17 years old), neither of whom had handled film in their lives. We gave them each a camera (an old Chinon M-1 and an Olympus OM-1), a light meter and a roll of Rollei Retro 400 and told them not to come back until they'd finished the roll.
I then showed them how to spool the film up onto the reels for processing, showed them how to mix up a batch of Rodinal 1+50, and had them agitate every 30 seconds. When the developer came out and the fixer went in, they were starting to get impatient and excited, and when the films came out of the fixer, the excitement was palpable.
The look of achievement in their eyes when I showed them their negs hanging on the line was just wonderful.
One of them phoned me the other day. He's scored an old Minolta XE-1 with an f/1.7 50mm lens off his dad, and he was asking me if I could sell him some film from my bulk roll.
I feel like a disreputable pusher man -- "The first one's free, but next time... bring your friends..."
My son, 14 y/o now and a freshman in high school, now and then shoots a few pics. I've encouraged him with the purchase of a really cheap digi-cam a couple years back. He did well with it on a motorcycle trip we took together, so I bought him a better digi-cam a year ago. He does OK with it, but his heart's just not in shooting stills (he does like shooting short videos, though), and I don't push it. Somewhere along the way, he has picked up the basics from me: horizon level, never in the center, if in doubt use Rule of Thirds, unless you have a better idea / reason not to, squeeze the shutter button gently so there's no camera shake.
On vacation or at a Christmas dinner, he can use a camera competently, turning out stuff that's usually sharp, in focus, no movement / blur, and properly exposed (auto camera, that's not his fault). But again, his heart's just not in it.
Meanwhile, we tease each other gently back and forth about film vs. digi. If he sees me looking at a digi-cam, he feigns disbelief or horror. When I shoot with one of my old beater cameras, he acts embarassed (I *think* he's acting). When one of my pics turns out good, and he asks which camera I took it with, and I answer "my old beater camera that looks like crap"..... He replies "Yes, but which one????"
But this school year, 2008-2009, he took a photography course in high school. His mother loaned him her Minolta X-570, purchased when we were dating circa 1985 or so, and barely used since then. The teacher uses /teaches b&W film, and they process the film at the school darkroom, and use an enlarger to print it.
And now, he understands even more of what I'm talking about, and what I'm doing, when I shoot b&W and then spend time developing it. He understands now about contact prints, proper exposure when you have to set it yourself, enlarging. I can't say he's produced art with his X-570 yet, and maybe he never will. But he seems to be a bit more respectful of the process now, and also seems to be enjoying the class. He often does produce negs that are properly exposed, focussed, and processed.
We haven't stopped ribbing each other about my old film cams vs. his prefered modern digi cams. But the digs are half-hearted now, neither of us really believing the gentle jabs we're giving the other.
I do hope I can talk him into running a roll of film through a TLR one of these days, or taking some shots with my 4x5 press camera. Maybe..... Time will tell. Meantime, it's fun just to watch him grow up and learn as he goes.
I have been wanting to do some fairly inexpensive "intro to film" workshops locally. I think there is enough interest based on chatter on the local photo boards. However, I don't have the facilities, and there are none available (to me) at a reasonable cost for a Saturday or a weekend.
There are still plenty of community college courses around, but a lot of people don't want to obligate the time to take a semester long course. A one or two day workshop is marketable. Maybe someday ...
Otherwise, I don't do a lot of recruiting. If I am out shooting and somebody wants to talk, I'll talk. I did do a presentation to a camera club recently where I showed them a 12x20 negative and its contact print. That got their attention!
Eh...I sincerely doubt that they never used film. I'm younger, and as a kid I used film all the time. Digital only really took off about 6/7 years ago.
Originally Posted by kavandje
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My son, also 14, does the same thing.
Originally Posted by DougGrosjean
I don't think he's acting though!
Last week I went out for lunch with a colleague that has the same photo hobby except he shoots digital only. Since I just bought a very nice Olympus OM-2 with normal lens for $50 I figured I can take it with me and see how it works. In the restaurant I took the Oly out and took few shots. My colleague was very curious how the pictures will turn out as he saw me shooting with 1 sec shutter speed holding the camera steady on the table. The other day I scanned the negs and sent the pics to my colleague. He said he could not believe that film shots from an old camera can be so sharp and look so well. I don't expect to win people over or convert them to film but it makes me feel good when they appreciate the look of film.
"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye." - Neil Young
& My APUG
I too shoot film. I mostly shoot film, in fact. I've not touched my EOS 5D DSLR in several weeks, as I have been using my EOS-3 35mm film body or other film bodies solid for a long time now.
However, I think there are ethical issues that come into play when one promotes film to a digital user or newbie to photography, on the basis of film being "better".
Film is not better or worse then digital, if you ask me. There are some shots that will come out better if one uses one type of camera over the other. So you see, this is not an absolute nor black and white matter (pun unintended).
I promote film on the basis of it being different, and that the differences are a good thing.
Personally, I see the turning of one's bias into a religion as a bad thing because it causes one to become subjective, and unreasonable. It's a form of elitism, and snobbery, to be sure.
The fact is, one can make great awesome compositions, having top notch image quality with both film and digital cameras.
And those that bad mouth one in order to promote the other are doing a disservice to those that are still learning, and are easily manipulated one way or the other.
If anyone cops an attitude because you use only one type over the other, that person is dead wrong, regardless if they're a film or digital bigot.
Coming back home to my film roots. Canon EOS-3 SLR, Canon EOS 1V SLR, 580ex flash, and 5D DSLR shooter. Prime lens only shooter.
Went to the local camera (mostly digital) club last night with a bunch of images from the postcard, alt, lith, and group print exchanges I've taken part in. Just wanted to show them that there are people all over working with film and various non-digital processes - and talk about how inspring it has been to me to see the work of others.
A couple of folks were asking questions after, about where to get supplies, but the commonest response was along the lines of "enjoyed your presentation, but I don't have time for stuff like that...."
i always try to be visible with a camera ...
holiday occasions with friends and family,
on the street when i work or just make snaps.
a few days ago i donated a few ( 5 or 6 ?) plak mounted
prints to a local school for an auction which helps
pay for a pre-school program. all the images were
film-based and i made sure they knew it, they were quite happy
Last edited by jnanian; 12-03-2008 at 06:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.