Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Film school

I've had a real bug lately to shoot black & white film. I plan to develop it myself & scan it. I've even gone so far as to purchase a vintage film camera and a scanner that can handle transparencies. I'm not abandoning digital, but film is really tugging at me lately. How can this be?

I already spent a lot of my time taking/processing/sharing photographs. I found a way to take a time-consuming hobby and make it even more time-consuming.

Part of the pull of film is the DIY aspect — I love that. Deconstructing the photograph is another thing to love. There's a real sense of satisfaction that comes from taking a decent photograph with a toy Holga camera or a pinhole lens I made out of tinfoil.

My wife & I just had a baby, so I'm taking tons of pictures — but now I'm spreading it around. I keep the AE-1 loaded with ASA 1600 film and leave it upstairs for indoor baby shots. The Ricoh 35 ZF has ASA 400 film in it for casual outdoor snapshots. The Holga stays loaded with ASA 100 film just so it's at the ready. My 40D still does most of the work, but I carry the Ricoh around now as my point-and-shoot.

There's a look and feel to film that cannot be recreated in digital. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but it's true. I'm not saying it's always better, just different.

Is the pull of film becoming a trend? I read Ken Rockwell's site regularly, and he's been on a Leica M7 trip all this year. David duChemin published a post recently on the topic. Is it a strange lunar year or something?

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