Shoot some film

Man taking photo with a film camera

My mate Skip, with a film camera

When I was a early to mid teen, photography used to be my #1 passion in life, it’s still fairly high up there. A conversation at lunch today reminded me about something that I’ve long since not experienced; the wait. The erstwhile several days you had to wait between taking a photo and seeing the photo, whilst the boffins in white lab coats at the processing lab, did their alchemy. The advent of 1 hour processing was a bit of a revelation, but it was at the time, fiscally above my means. The advent of digital photography has brought about the no-wait processing time. So many photos don’t actually make it to print. A shame in many ways.

The excitement of picking up prints from the little chemist around the corner from my house, the walk home so I could see them in the warmth and comfort of home was often shunned in favor of ripping the packet open and viewing them there and then, on the street.

There are two types of photographer – those who’ve shot film and those who haven’t. With digital, you don’t have to think as much, the tendency is to let the camera do the math and preview on the fly making adjustments if required.  The down side is – even for the high end DSLRs – is that their users tend to, like with all modern forms of photography take their eye off the subject more to look at the back of the camera – or worst still, look at the world almost exclusively via the back of a camera / phone when capturing. How may times have you seen something cool happening on TV, where the people actually there are choosing to watch proceedings on their own hand-held tv screen?

If you like photography and have never shot film – give it a go. You can get set up with a really good 35mm SLR for less than £20 off ebay these days as people are getting rid of redundant kit. You can pick up a few rolls of film for a few quid and processing can typically still be done at your local supermarket for ‘next to nothing’.  I guarantee you’ll learn something new. It’ll increase the perceived value of each and every shot, it’ll make you, make every shot count. Make the technical judgement then shoot. You’ll get to know your camera so much better, because you have to. There are still the die hards that say stuff shot on film looks better. It’s a similar argument to the ‘stuff recorded on vinyl’ sounds better. More like stepping into a warm bath, than a shower – both get the job done.. but.

I’ve not shot film for ages myself. I’ll admit. The last major foray was when I got an old Russian lomo camera and some dead-stock film to try x-processing. The results, looked like this. If this does inspire you to shoot film.. pleases share your results here!

I’ve voiced the Lomography motto before on DragonDrop – ‘don’t think, just shoot.’. Well forget that for a bit. Do think, then shoot.