MOPA - My Own Private Assumptions

Honest Reasons Why I Really Shoot Film

THE CURVE

The first film camera I've bought was medium format plastic Holga TLR. It did not have the lightmeter, one shutter speed, no focusing and two aperture settings: sunny at F11 and cloudy at F8. And that's it! I never bothered paying attention to the "sunny 16 rule" or shadows/highlights distribution - cause " you can fix it in post", no? So now, without focus peaking, exposure compensation, zebras and autofocus - you learn your craft all over again.

There is also a matter of tactile feeling, that you get from film photography. You have to handle negatives(medium format is amazing), you have to feed and wind film manually and that, for me, makes the whole process so much better.

 THE GEAR

I am a compulsory gear hoarder. I like cameras and gear. I like the look of the certain cameras,I like the feel and the sound of them. I could not shoot Nikon( no offense to Nikon shooters) cause it did not feel good. I almost bought a 4 year old Fujifilm XPRO 1 just because it looked good. 

So film gear stole my heart. Seriously, the chrome goodness of Hasselblad  or Leica, or my Konica is amazing( even though I can only zone focus it, cause the focus patch is missing).

And do not get me started on the modular abilities of my Bronica, or Mamiya RZ67 - you can switch from portrait to landscape mode without flipping the camera or you can attach a polaroid back to it. And not a single flip out screen can match the left/right confusion of a waist level finder. 

Going on the ebay or keh.com com is like a trip to a toy store - half frame, 35mm, medium format, large format, panoramic cameras, polaroids, rangefinders. Seriously!

NUMBER OF SHOTS

I do not like long shoots. Long shoots are tedious, tiring and you have to spend too much time interacting with people you usually do not know. 32GB card on Sony A7 can cram up to 800 RAW files. And I usually carried 2-3 cards - up to 2000 files.That's a lot of room for error for the "spray and pray" technique.  So for me,that turns a shoot into 3 to 4 hour nightmare - my anxiety goes up, my attention wanders off to some distant lands. And usually, I know if i got the shot and I also know that shooting extra hundred frames will not make the shoot any better. So oftentimes I would lie to people that my battery died or there is no more space on my cards - just to get out of the shoot.  

But now I usually limit myself to 2 rolls of film - one color and one BW. That is 70 frames of 35mm film or 24(!) frames of medium format film. Makes you think about every frame, makes you compose better, makes you shoot better.

RETOUCHING

I have a huge(insert Trump's or Bernie's voice here) amount of respect for people,who do awesome retouching( cheers to Bogdana YakovenkoLesya Kostiv, Artur Gataulin) but I always hated PS.Remember those 2k frames per shoot?! I really dreaded that time after the shoot when you have to sift thru images and do your own retouching.  I do not have enough energy to sit for hours of that godawfull process.

When I switched to film, my basic concerns were the darkroom techniques- dust, contrast, shadows and highlights. And I can do it all in the Lightroom.

 

NOSTALGIA

Every time I look at a film photo, it somehow takes me back in time- and everything was better back in the day,right?

And when I shoot/wind/develop film, I kinda imagine myself being somebody waaaaay more talented than I am(insert your favorite photographer here) - Richard Avedon, Paolo Roversi, Herb Ritz, Helmut Newton.

THE LOOK

I always liked black and white photography, but oftentimes I could not get that deep and dark BW look I wanted . And then I've found Kodak TriX. The grain and the shadows are so dope that now I have to convince myself bring a roll or two of color film- this is how much I like it. 

I also struggled with the consistency of tmy photographs. No matter how many presets you've created - there was always something off with that. Now I just have to buy the same film stock over and over again. Granted, there are variations, but they are indeed minimal.  

INSTANT GRATIFICATION DELAYED

You do not see the shot you've taken. Usually it takes up to 2 or 3 weeks. You contemplate,you wait,and sometimes you even forget about some of the frames you shot. And that is a good thing. There is a technique that asks you to "marinate" your shots. It is changing your perception, makes you reevaluate your decisions, gives you an opportunity of a fresh look. And film is perfect for that.

 

I think I've covered most of my reasons. As a conclusion, I wanted to say that I almost quit photography a year ago. But film was that fresh breeze that made me reconsider, and I am grateful. 

DISCLAIMER

Shooting film is expensive and it is a hassle but you might like it!