Why I still shoot film

I wrote the following paragraph on my other blog LostAruban on why I shoot with film.

Then comes the best part of it all. I see the image I just shot in my head and it is absolutely perfect. The depth of field is magnificent, the subject has a perfect look with piercing eyes, a ray of sunlight hits her hair creating a halo around her.

One of the main benefits of shooting with digital is a drawback to me. The lack of instant feedback creates these visions of perfect photos in my head. These visions are often shattered when I pick up my developed roll of film but I still stubbornly continue to shoot film until one day I get back images that match or supersede my imagined perfection.

Another aspect is shooting with toy cameras. These are plastic, cheap (as long as you don’t go through the traditional lomo shops) and awesome. Using a camera stripped of any manual functions makes photography crazy simple. Its like going from a Lamborghini with paddle shifts to a soapbox cart. There are no controls to fiddle with and brings the experience down to its pure essence.

When I shoot with a toycamera I don’t have to worry about focus ( its probably blurry anyway), exposure (probably overexposed), shutterspeed(it’s a cheap spring made by some poor Chinese fellow) or ISO ( determined by the cheap expired roll of film I threw in). All that remains is composition. Nada mas. Your only control if the photo is a masterpiece or looked at once in disappointment is your ability to compose.

I am not one of those people that says everything has to be analog and pure and digital technology has over compressed, over processed, overcomplicated things, I am just saying there is room for both. They both have their merits and honestly I have way more fun shooting with film but I am more satisfied with my digital images.

What do you prefer to shoot with?

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4 responses to “Why I still shoot film

  1. Well, let’s face it. Digital is easier, cheaper, most often sharper, better color. You take a shot and the exposure, color, contrast is off …look at your screen and than take another, or another ten, or twenty. Digital is easy, almost perfect when used right when the “user” knows how to use it. That’s the problem. Life isn’t perfect. With perfect comes to imagination in using light, composition or exposure. You can record exactly what you see each and every time, with a little knowledge. Film lets you use the imagination, let’s you create a certain light (to a point), lets the viewer react and interpret what the “non-perfect” film records. Film is human, never perfect. Digital is perfect, never human …with the right skill and use of course.

    Good post,
    John

    • nestor188days

      Wow, I think you really got the to essence with “life isn’t perfect”. My memories aren’t perfect and small imperfections in people make them ever more beautiful. I think we’ve reached such a high level of “perfection” that you can pick up magazines and none of those models reflect what they look like in real life or for that fact anybody else. We’ve elevated perfection in our photography to a level that is unobtainable without computers. Anyway, you made a great point with life isn’t perfect.

  2. PS: I prefer digital all the way. I’m too lazy…

  3. PS: you saw the shot you saw in your head, because that is what you wanted to shoot, record, convey. Digital shoots what it thinks everyone else wants to see. The “average”, the mathematical equivalent of what you should think is perfect, what IT thinks you should see…

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