Saturday, April 27, 2013

On Shooting Film

what's in the bag, originally uploaded by bR!@n.

Film is not for everybody. It has its own appeal and purpose.

If you shoot for perfection (you know, getting that perfect shot every time) then film is not for you. Shooting film entails a certain openness and attitude. Going its way means being open to mistakes and being humble enough to learn from them. You accept that everything you do will have a flaw, but you give it your best just the same. You will have your chance at correcting those mistakes eventually, it's just gonna have to wait another roll.


You don't really shoot film for the final output (that's how I see it, at least) but more on for the experience of it. Kind of like "its not the destination that matters, its how you get there" kind of stuff. There's something about being involved in the whole process of taking a photograph that just gets you hooked. So much so that sometimes how you take the picture becomes as important as what outcome you produce in the end. You're involved in everything that gets put into that frame, and it's all you. No auto focus, no sensor processing, no metering compensation. Everything in there was your decision and that just makes the image much more personal.


Shooting film slows you down. If you're a trigger happy kind of shooter producing hundreds of pictures in a single run, well that's just not practical when you use film. You can buy lots of rolls but every shot costs you money. Between buying film, developing, and scanning or printing, each frame may cost you a couple of dollars depending on how you do it. Using film teaches you to take your time and think twice on each shot, but it also teaches you how to make quick decisions when you have to.


Patience is one other thing that film teaches you. In this day and age where everything is instant, people often times are very impatient. We always want to get things in real time; news feeds, live streaming, social media. If you take pictures and need it to be instantly seen by the world (or even just you), then film will not be able to do that for you. Some things do still take time. Film gives you the opportunity to step back from that busy world and just.. take your sweet time. Some times it's hard when you take a picture and you don't really know what you got, but that's actually part of the appeal of film. It's like the excitement of opening a present not knowing what's inside compared to opening a box from Amazon containing that thing that you handpicked from their website. Of course, as of all gifts, expect to be disappointed every now and then.


In the end, it's all about having fun. (I'm assuming that's why you take pictures anyway.) Each person will have their own preference of shooting, their own style. What's important is whatever style of shooting you choose, it's the one that you enjoy doing. Having just recently try out film photography, I must say that shooting digital will never be the same. It makes you appreciate the technological advances that most of the time we take for granted. But at the same time, it's also liberating knowing you can operate on your own, knowing that what you produce in the end is all you. It takes the process of shooting a picture to another level of experience. And I just find it more fun than just composing and clicking the shutter. But, again, that's just me.