"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." — Thomas Alva Edison

Photography DiscussionWould You, Or Do you, Or Have You Returned to (Or Never Left) FILM?

User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Primus
Mentoris Primus
Posts: 1710
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Re: Would You, Or Do you, Or Have You Returned to (Or Never Left) FILM?

Post by Charles Haacker » Thu May 25, 2017 3:27 am

Duck wrote:The first thing I notice is that the article 'interviews' a single wedding photographer whose 'gimmick' is offering film based images as part of his wedding package. This obviously is not an impartial opinion or a unbiased overview of a coming trend. It actually comes across as a soft sell for his services.

Unfortunately, film has been demoted to "artistic" status, a quaint reminder of long ago technology our parents saw as an everyday thing. Sadly the millennial's desires to "going retro" has further pushed film as that 'hipster' thing to do. Nothing like taking something as ubiquitous as shooting film and stuffing it into a narrow, almost negative, category. Capitalizing on the fact a wedding can be shot on film is actually a brilliant idea. Specially since all the cellphone photographers can never compete against that.

There are several quotes from the photographer made about using film that are rather absurd and definitely made as a selling point to the uninitiated.

"Film just looks better. The colors are much more authentic and real, and the image has a more grounded look to it. Also, the cool factor of the grain that you get from film is hard to replicate with a computer (believe me, I've tried!)."

I know digital photographers who purposely give their images a 'retro film look' because that is what they cut their teeth on back in the day. Heck, there are tons of 'retro' filters and Photoshop actions to replicate just about any type of film. Besides, most people could care less. The same goes about the "cool factor" of image grain. I thought that grain comment was rather cute. I almost laughed if it wasn't so ridiculous.

The other comment I thought was also ridiculous was this one;

"Instead of rapid firing to get 15 similar digital images, with film I wait for the perfect moment and 'click,' I've got it. By being forced to slow down, I believe the images that are created are truer to the moment."

This statement is pure propaganda. Any professional photographer (unless they subscribe to the 'spray and pray' philosophy), shooting film or digital, is about actively seeking that true moment and the number of frames required to capture that moment does not correlate to the media being used. If it takes 3 shots to get a garter toss it takes 3 shots, period. It's not as if shooting with film one would say, "hmm, I better not waste three frames on a garter toss. I'll just use one." My feeling is that 15 to one ratio he mentions comes from someone who's never really shot a wedding on film. Yes, shooting digital has freed us to be able to take additional images (just in case) but they are not because shooting on film you would otherwise somehow not get the shot.

As for returning to film? Absolutely! As a self indulgent act of reminding me of 'simpler times', and because I can. Not because it's better on some anachronistic level, but because I enjoy it. I recently bought an old Graflex Speed Graphic Pacemaker that's several years older than me. Again, not because I need it or because it has some awesome powers my digital camera doesn't, but because I know how to use it and it makes me happy. Will it replace my digital cameras in the studio or in the field? Absolutely not. Specially for any client work. Heck, I even have my old Canon AE-1 Program cameras, lenses and all, should I want them. Right now, larger formats have more appeal to me than 35mm. 4x5 will fill that desire for now.

Using film and printing from film is now a status thing. We understand how difficult that task is because we all know that the Fotomats are all gone and photographers shooting film today are processing and printing these things in small batches by hand. It's relegated to the 'art scene' on the same level as painters and sculptors creating art by hand. That's a good thing.

Duck, you make the points that caused me to make the original post. "... colors more authentic and real, image has a more grounded look to it. Also, the cool factor of the grain that you get from film..." Say whaaaaaaaaaaa...? And indeed, Mister Decisive Moment always knows exactly when to trip his shutter for that perfect once-in-a-lifetime shot. I've shot about 800 weddings in my career, every single one on film, so I think I have the moxie to say "bushwah." I will however admit that I prided myself on a finely developed sense of timing owing to shooting all my weddings with Hasselblads with 12-exposure backs (I always feared light leaks with 220). I had a "pistol belt" with clips for 3 spare backs plus my Quantum battery, but even so I had to be very mindful of each exposure. The guy I bought my studio from shot all his weddings with Crown Graphics and film holders no kidding!

Incidentally, my beloved Speed Graphic is a Pacemaker. I bought it when I started school. The school had shelves full of them but having been through generations of students many were in sorry shape with bent rails, missing infinity stops, broken rangefinders and so on. I had always wanted one anyway because my dad was a war correspondent for Acme Newspictures. His favorite camera was an Anniversary model. I would have preferred one like it but the Pacemaker was what I found. :photo:
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Primus
Mentoris Primus
Posts: 1710
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by Charles Haacker » Thu May 25, 2017 3:37 am

Duck wrote:
Didereaux wrote:[...]If you are taking pictures for posterity i,e, grandchildren and later then film and printing has a verifiable track record. Digital unless you transfer it onto.inpt the latest greatest format/storage then it is lost forever.[...]

Alas, I have to say that I have rolls and rolls of film lost forever because of circumstances in my life (mostly moving from place to place in my youth) that I'll never get back. Of all those rolls of film I only have a handful of prints. While it is easier to lose digital files (as opposed to tangible strips of film) is is just as easy to ensure they don't get lost (if not easier now we have cloud storage). In your comparison you unfairly compared prints preserved in a drawer to digital files stored on a computer. If I were to print from a digital file and stuffed those prints into the same drawer with your analog prints, they would then be on equal terms. If you've equated the CD to the shoebox full of cellophane strips, then you'd have a better argument. ;)

Just my two bits.

I talked about this also. I'm far more able to keep track of thousands of images made over the last ten years than anything ever done in analog, precisely because, due to life circumstances, most of the negatives are long gone and many were never printed at all, or the prints are missing. If I have prints at least I am now able to scan them, or I will be again when I find my scanner after my last life altering circumstance and 800 mile move. When I remarked that I didn't know where my son's European files are, what I mostly meant is that I don't have a set in my drives. He assures me he has them on his computer but good-ol' life circumstances delay him from retrieving them so I can get the full set backed up and then start reworking them in Lightroom. They are not lost per se.
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

User avatar
pop511
Mentoris Centurion
Mentoris Centurion
Posts: 329
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:29 am
Location: Sydney,Australia
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by pop511 » Thu May 25, 2017 1:30 pm

Return to film?...Hmmmm
No definitely not. I do miss the old days, but it is more of nostalgia than any practical sense and I still have 2 Minolta bodies.
My day of shooting then was one large film roll of 36, so you had to be very careful and selective.
Many comments posted above I agree with, so I wont go over them again.
The discipline and theory remains the same.
The main difference I find is photogs in the digital age, if we can call it that, use their cameras like machine guns.
I have seen people in studios firing at the same plastic model 20-30 times and not moving the damn thing.
I did a wedding with another guy. He took 1100-1200 pics and was amazed at me for ONLY 200-250 shots. Approximate figures.
My answer to that is Don't shoot unless you have something to shoot at.
So where am I heading with this?
Self discipline: How can you shoot a portrait in 2 secs/ Frame a scene/
The list goes on, but I'll end rant here... :D
You have to see in your mind the picture you want.
Have fun:
ed
ed davis

User avatar
Ceropegia
Mentoris Sextus
Mentoris Sextus
Posts: 649
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:06 pm
Location: Appalachian Foothills of Northeast Alabama
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, you can edit but ask me first
Contact:

Post by Ceropegia » Thu May 25, 2017 1:50 pm

My comments on long term survival of analog photographic images. I have several thousand black and white negatives, Some date to the very early 1900's. A couple are on glass plates. Most are in archival sleeves. Many, even some of the oldest, are in almost perfect condition. Others, not treated so well, have faded, have scratches and fingerprints on them, or have somehow been crinkled. For many I also have prints made years ago. Like the negative, some have fared better than others. For those that are faded, scratched, fingerprinted torn,etc, I would not dare to send the negatives off for reprinting for fear of loosing them. Here is where the digital age really shines for me. I am able digitize the negatives by scanning them at high resolution, remove scratches and such, and reprint them (or not, but have them preserved as positives).

I also have some very old color negative and slides, most of which have not fared nearly as well and neither have the prints. The oldest have lost color and faded. Again, I have found the digital age to be a godsend. I scanned in all the slides my father had taken over the years. Many, in poor shape, could be fairly well restored. I remember a couple in particular, taken about 40 years ago that were so faded I could not tell what was on them. After scanning them, and toying with them, I was surprised that I was actually able to bring out the images which turned out to be of my son in clown face including one with me standing beside him. I could never get the color completely back, but was very happy I was able to recover them at all.

Strangely, while always wanted to know as soon as possible how my shots turned out and we did have a Polaroid camera, we did not use it much. We usually wanted more than one copy of photos we had taken so we could give them to friends and family. I do have a number of 50 year old Polaroids mostly taken by other folks. They all seem to have begun to deteriorate, but have lasted far longer and far better than I would ever have thought. They are all in the process of being scanned and restored to the extent possible.

So eventually most if not all of my analog images will be stored on new digital media that will undoubtedly suffer similarly from aging unless transferred periodically to fresh storage media. Below are a couple of images over 100 years old from scanned negatives. The first on a glass plate was taken in 1910 of my grandmother and grandfather courting under the watchful eye of my great grandmother. The next two were taken by my grandfather on trips out west the he took when he was working for the Great Northern Railroad. They were dated by someone, presumably my grandfather or grandmother writing directly on the negative.
Attachments
gdma gdpa gt gdma 1910adj2f.jpg
Grandpa 1 rs.jpg
Grandpa 44047ac.jpg

User avatar
Duck
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 2317
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:31 am
Location: Shelton, CT
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by Duck » Thu May 25, 2017 4:14 pm

pop511 wrote:[...] The main difference I find is photogs in the digital age, if we can call it that, use their cameras like machine guns. [...]

This could be a thread all its own. For me, one of the funniest sights is a (?) photographer with a large dSLR and a big lens, looking like a true professional photographer, machinguning the heck out of some random subject.

Years ago I took a group of amateur photographers to the Bronx Zoo. We were by the gorilla enclosure and I was offering some tips to some of my 'satellites'. The viewing area we were in was fairly large (gorillas are very popular) and there was a good sized crowd of tourists. Behind me was a large glass viewing area into the gorilla enclosure. I was facing toward the entrance as I was talking when suddenly this rather beefy guy, large camera and long lens, sweeps into the room, stands a few feet from us, raises his camera, fires off a burst of ten or so shots and sweeps out the other side. The whole thing too less than a minute and it left me wide eyed and slack jawed at what I had just witnessed. It was as if his life depended on photographing the entire zoo in under a half hour. No thought to composition, no adjusting (that I saw) for exposure, nothing. I know he went home with ten+ images all with the same exact scene because he didn't even reposition himself.

Needless to say he quickly turned into a live lesson for my little group of photographers.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Image ImageImageImageImage

User avatar
Duck
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 2317
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:31 am
Location: Shelton, CT
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by Duck » Thu May 25, 2017 4:20 pm

Ceropegia wrote:[...] So eventually most if not all of my analog images will be stored on new digital media [...]

The beauty of today's digital media age is the ability to post to a worldwide audience and share history like this. So much has been recorded since the invention of photography that I can only imagine if all those (otherwise mundane) images were collated and allowed to fill in gaps in people's history.

Take the train buried in snow, for example. Imagine somewhere someone's grandfather was telling a story of how he was a passenger on a train going through Leavenworth when it was hit by an avalanche. Wouldn't it be great if their grandkids were able to access images like yours? It would give credibility to a story and add a whole new level of understanding.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Image ImageImageImageImage

User avatar
Ceropegia
Mentoris Sextus
Mentoris Sextus
Posts: 649
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:06 pm
Location: Appalachian Foothills of Northeast Alabama
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, you can edit but ask me first
Contact:

Post by Ceropegia » Thu May 25, 2017 7:09 pm

Perhaps if I had a darkroom and a good enlarger or two, the chemicals, and paper (all pretty much beyond my means, now) I would still consider occasionally taking my analog camera along on photographic forays. Mind you, I would also have a digital with me, too. I was often never very satisfied with how the prints from my photos turned out. I could tell from the negatives that they could have been processed much better. Finally a professional photographer friend told me he rented darkrooms to process his images. Until then, I was unaware that could be done. He took me along a couple of times to show me the ropes. After that I was hooked. I went back through my negatives to see which had potential, took them in and worked magic on them. I could adjust color, dodge and burn, etc., and wind up with decent prints to hang on the wall. I also took in some of the very old family negatives to print for my aunt who at the time was the custodian of the family negative file and wanted sepia toned prints. Some of those old negatives were so large the enlargers in the rented darkroom could not handle them so we had to get a little creative and were not always able to expose the entire negative. So yes, if such places still exist and were nearby, I would certainly give serious consideration to using a film camera again. The only other drawback would be where to get film and where to get it developed for which this forum has offered good suggestions.

User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Primus
Mentoris Primus
Posts: 1710
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by Charles Haacker » Thu May 25, 2017 11:19 pm

Ceropegia wrote:My comments on long term survival of analog photographic images. [...] So eventually most if not all of my analog images will be stored on new digital media that will undoubtedly suffer similarly from aging unless transferred periodically to fresh storage media. Below are a couple of images over 100 years old from scanned negatives. The first on a glass plate was taken in 1910 of my grandmother and grandfather courting under the watchful eye of my great grandmother. The next two were taken by my grandfather on trips out west the he took when he was working for the Great Northern Railroad. They were dated by someone, presumably my grandfather or grandmother writing directly on the negative.

Those pictures are beyond great. They are really priceless. The humor in the first one is so charming! The second one reminds me of the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, Montana. That building is much later (1939) and was originally built as a barracks for (would you believe) Northern Pacific workers! We stayed there in 2007 on an Amtrak trip into Glacier.

That third one is plenty scary! I wonder if the crew survived, and were they hauling freight or passengers? Was your grandfather a photographer for the GNRR? He did a really professional job!
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Primus
Mentoris Primus
Posts: 1710
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by Charles Haacker » Thu May 25, 2017 11:51 pm

pop511 wrote:[...] The main difference I find is photogs in the digital age, if we can call it that, use their cameras like machine guns.
I have seen people in studios firing at the same plastic model 20-30 times and not moving the damn thing.
I did a wedding with another guy. He took 1100-1200 pics and was amazed at me for ONLY 200-250 shots. Approximate figures.
My answer to that is Don't shoot unless you have something to shoot at. [...]
Duck wrote:[...] This could be a thread all its own. For me, one of the funniest sights is a (?) photographer with a large dSLR and a big lens, looking like a true professional photographer, machinguning the heck out of some random subject. [...]

I think, Ed and Duck, that we've all seen it (that story is hilarious, Duck). But I have to confess to often shooting in bursts of 3. I use the technique most when shooting candids. The first goes off when I think I see the instant décisif. The other two are insurance against blinks or whatever else I may have missed. I use it especially on my granddaughter, aged not-quite 2. I also like to use it with groups so that I can face-swap a bad expression or blink. I consider it a tool that I'd have killed for back in the day when I'd make 2 or 3 of a wedding party and somebody (never the same one) blinked in every shot. Ed, your guy shooting over a thousand pics of a wedding, in my opinion anyway, is ridiculous, but even when I was shooting weddings in film I knew of competitors promising a couple "500 proofs." From film! My reaction to that was always, WHY? It said to me that the photographer was too lazy or uninvolved to do a preliminary cull. We NEVER showed a bad shot unless it was all we had, and sometimes we'd just ditch it (never took it). Daphne and I laid every wedding out on the big worktable and culled the blinks and bad expressions. I couldn't imagine showing my bloopers and clinkers to the couple and their families. I still do volunteer work, and no one ever sees my stuff until it is culled and edited. If I shot 3 all they ever see is the best one. If all 3 are beneath my standards, well gee, I guess I never took it.
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

User avatar
pop511
Mentoris Centurion
Mentoris Centurion
Posts: 329
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:29 am
Location: Sydney,Australia
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by pop511 » Fri May 26, 2017 12:37 am

Charles;
You Quoted: "I still do volunteer work"
Just found out in the last 2 minutes that there is a medical mission to Alabat island, Philippines and I've been asked to go.
Small world.... :D

"But I have to confess to often shooting in bursts of 3"
We've all done that.... :D :D :D
ed davis

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests