Food for cameras, food for thought?

Discussion in 'Film Cameras' started by Lightmancer, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I dunno Bill, I'm never convinced by this "film slows you down, makes you a better photographer ... " thing.

    I'm very pleased that the author likes film again, but it's not a panacea that will turn a snapper into an HCB (or whoever).

    And I'm someone who has reverted to film for 99% of my picture-taking ...
  2. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    No, I agree. It isn't a panacea. But like slow food encourages you to taste more, slow travel encourages you to see more, slow photography cannot be a bad thing, can it?

    Where I diverge from what he writes is that is that I think he is being a little simplistic. There are actually two factors at work here:

    1. Getting out of a rut with something "new" - we have all experienced this. A new "toy" either inspires or depresses, there is rarely a middle ground.

    2. Being forced to "think" more by the constraints of a basic film camera. I would argue that the top line film cameras (I had an F100) were as complex as some of today's digitals, with less of a screen to explain how to change the settings. I remember tweaking my Contax RX - 1-0, 0-0, etc. But a basic film camera (today I own and use four 35mm cameras on a regular basis - Leica IID, Leica M2, Olympus OM2SP and Minox GT) makes you think.

    I have never been a "machine-gunner", preferring instead to snipe my shots. Even when I am shooting something that won't move and I have all the time in the world, I rarely shoot more than once without changing angle or composition. I took just under 150 images in 14 days on holiday recently - not a lot in the great scheme of things.

    I'm going back at the moment and digitising some of my old slides. Three things are coming to light (pardon the pun).

    a) I am a better photographer now
    b) I am a better editor now
    c) I managed to take some crackers
    d) Overall, my hit rate is probably about the same

    Sorry - rambling a bit, but I think it is relevant to the article. Film doesn't make you a better photographer, but if it slows you down and makes you a more considered photographer I'm all for it.

    Going to breakfast with my Minox now :smile:
  3. grillec

    grillec Veteran

    Jan 16, 2014
    I don't agree that film will make you a better photographer, too. I think digital and analogue could complement each other and could extend the experience of the photographer.
    A 'slow down' in the process of taking a photo is sometimes a good thing but I could achieve a similar thing with an Epson R-D1 or a Sigma DP (viewer and offline monitor). The change of the battery of the Sigma is like changing film.
    With my F100 I could clear a film in a few seconds instead. The bag for all the different filters I wouldn't miss either :)

    I had bought several analogue compact cameras after my digitals but in a few there is still the first film waiting for developing.
  4. Boid

    Boid All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    There another aspect to shooting film that wasn't touched upon in the article. Where does one share ones images?

    I share my images online, on Facebook or flickr. And I shoot images to be displayed on a computer. It makes no sense for me to shoot anything on film. Why increase my workflow to include scanning as well?

    As for film forcing one to be more critical of the pictures we're making, well, bah. There are a number of magnum photographers shooting digital who're as critical and considered about their work as can be. Just be more mindful of what's being created.

    There is only one strong argument FOR film, and that's nostalgia. And there's no known cure and no arguments against it either.
  5. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    I scan very, very little of my current film work. It's not for sharing being instead a personal project. I remember the days pre- social (ante-social?) when photography was a solitary pursuit shared with few, not many. Sharing and the subsequent interaction and feedback for me at least is a benefit not an objective.

    I paint watercolours too ;-)
  6. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    It's the "it slows you down" thing that annoys me.

    If you need to slow down with your digital camera, slow down with your digital camera.

    If someone is unable to moderate their shutter-release pressing then they have a problem with impulse control, not their medium

    [grumbles off into distance]
    • Like Like x 4
  7. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    "What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.
    No time to stand beneath the boughs
    And stare as long as sheep or cows.
    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
    No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance.
    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began.
    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare."
    William Henry Davies

    The point I am trying to make - albeit poorly, I feel - is that like so many things in modern life, photography can become a "tick, bash" exercise. The world passes in a blur, paused occasionally at 1/500 (1/125 is too SLOW, man...) if film acts as a catalyst to see more and shoot less, I am all for it. Some can do that with digital, some need a little help. Some are beyond redemption. I'm appealing to that middle ground.

    Me, I like the smell, the tactility, the challenge of shooting un-metered, the sound of a cloth shutter strolling across the gate, the expectation, the delayed gratification, the end result...

    I like film. :)
    • Like Like x 2
  8. ReD

    ReD Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    I'll shoot film (not often I admit) when my digi camera is limited - eg doesn't allow me to take the long exposures I want.

    The other factor in favour is PLEASURE - that overrides everything

    Because of the costs - yes I am more selective with film. Doesn't mean I'm taking better photos though.

    I get pleasure from both methods - mainly from processing at moment & digital is much faster & far less hassle.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    It's disappointing to read this.

    One of the very annoying things about APUG (for all it's other virtues) is the constant Film VS Digital barrage, in which the level of contempt and vituperation becomes perfectly absurd. One of the things complained about is (ironically) the contempt shown for film by digital users. When I point out that I never see this on digital forums, they all go a bit quiet.

    If you don't want to use, or just don't like film, don't use it. But don't pretend either that it has no place in the modern world ... the reductio consequence is of course that nothing non-digital or handmade or old deserves to exist, so lets heap contumely upon those stupid idiotic "artists" who insist on using paint and brushes to make pictures instead of a lovely iPad ...

    Digital underpants anyone?
    • Like Like x 2
  10. El Guapo

    El Guapo Regular

    Feb 3, 2014
    When it comes to image making some still use charcoal, pencils, water paints, oil paints, etc etc... some still use film, and others have gone digital.
    It seems we don't give up entirely on any form of technology.
    Film still has it relevance IMO. One good example is if you want a 8 x 10 sensor, get some film, a digital one will be too expensive.
    Many a film camera can be used with no battery or power. It may suit a circumstance. Try that with digital.
    You need to take 10,000 images in one day, don't try that with film.

    Choose your tool and make images.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Time out, gentlemen.

    This wasn't meant to turn (or run) into a film vs. digital argument. Please remember that, as we continue.

    Thank you.
  12. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    Digital photography removes a few barriers for me. If I had to rely on my own processioning I'd have a bucket with many unprocessed rolls of film. Realistically, I also would not be shooting colo(u)r. Checking the LCD does give me a chance to correct mistakes on many occasions. I truly do not think I would shoot much differently with a film camera, but I would have a smaller absolute number of good images.

    It's a silly debate since there is no clear answer. It's still fun to discuss, however, as long as everyone stays clam.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I think we should put some mussel into the discussion
  14. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    And we could winkle out what's going on
  15. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    It certainly is an interesting article.

    However -- and it is a big however -- virtually all of the effects (or consequences) of shooting film that he mentions can also be achieved while shooting digital. In short, these effects are produced by the mental attitude and outlook, NOT by the media that is used to capture the image.

    If you want (and can afford) to shoot film, by all means shoot film. But the discipline that comes with shooting film can just as well be applied when shooting digitally. For me,though, I like to shoot a lot and evaluate the results as soon as possible, and I don't like waiting for the film to come back from processing.

    Cheers, Jock
    • Like Like x 2
  16. grillec

    grillec Veteran

    Jan 16, 2014
    I think if I would had the opportunity to shoot with film only I hadn't learned the principles and a feeling for photography so fast by myself.
  17. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    I'm glad the author had a revelation, but I don't need to slow down. I shoot slow all the time. Even with a digital camera, I rarely shoot more than one image when I raise the camera to my eye. Despite my mediocre results, it's NOT from my lack of consideration before releasing the shutter. I wonder if he feels his images are better or if he just enjoys the shooting experience more (it sounds like the latter).

    There is no one-size-fits-all "trick" to becoming a better photographer. Buying a film camera and shooting film will not by itself result in better photographs anymore than me buying better paintbrushes result in my paintings being any better (they won't make them worse either because I don't paint:rofl:)

    I DO think most people would benefit from being more thoughtful before, during and after releasing the shutter, but I don't think one needs to re-visit (or try for the first time) shooting film.
  18. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I oyster think more better gear was the answer, but it's all too many squid
  19. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    OK, I'll ask. What is "slow food"?