Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Gritty Look of Film

I thought I would share an image...right out of the darkroom!  While many think of film as a thing of the past, there are a growing number of photographers that are turning back to film for that "special look."  It takes discipline and devotion, but the rewards are a look that is subtly different from digital.  A roll of 16 images doesn't go very far, but then you don't carelessly snap them off like you do with digital.  

When you only get 16 shots and you're paying roughly a buck per click, you tend to slow down and think a bit.  Instead of shooting madly at all different angles and settings and hoping for a good one, you LOOK with your eyes.  You do the composition and technical in your head, you visualize it.  You take the time to meter the light and get it right.  Then when everything is right, you shoot it ONCE or maybe TWICE.  Instead of hoping for a a lucky shot, you MAKE your shot.  That required discipline is something that I love about film. In a roll of 16, I typically get about 8 shots that I'm pretty happy with.  In contrast, with 16 digital shots, I might be happy with two or three.  It's just a different mindset when you're shooting and it yields a higher number of keepers.  

This image was taken from a roll of film that I processed in my makeshift darkroom (aka bathroom), but the images were shot last spring.  Between film processing, cleanup, and scanning, I burned about 2 1/2 hours for 16 images.  It seems crazy when compared with the speed and ease of digital, but the rewards are great.  This image was shot on Ilford HP5, 400iso, with a medium format Pentax 645 camera and an 85mm f2.8 Pentax prime lens.  This film is known for it's grain and gritty feel, and those that still shoot it, do so because of its character.  Personally, I think it's a nice departure from the clinical smoothness of digital.  Shooting film is a bit tedious, but you're rewarded with a unique character that comes through in your images.

My camera is reloaded with a roll of Ilford Delta 100 and I'm off to shoot again!

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