Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Film Photography

Something is missing in my photography. I’m not sure what it is but as I try to find it I find myself getting back to film, or at least a desire to get back into film, more and more.

I think it’s that my images all look the same. The same feel. The same dimensions. I don’t like anything the same for very long and it’s starting to show in my work.

This isn’t an anti-digital rant. I do still love the digital camera and how fast I get to see the images and work with them. But there is a feel that I just can’t get around with the digital look that is starting to bother me. Everything looks the same. Same tones. Same contrast and color. And this isn’t just my own work. It’s with a lot of the stuff I see.

Film allows for different look. The way it’s exposed and developed makes a difference in the look and feel of the image. In the digital realm, the difference comes from the camera and the particular software used to develop the RAW images. The palette is now determined by the sensor and there aren’t a ton of sensors on the market today.
For 35mm photography you basically have Canon and Nikon. There are others but in my opinion, and remember this is an opinion, the other manufacturers are putting out smaller sensors with less than stellar output. In the medium format world the technology is there but at a steep price for the performance making it largely unattainable to a vast majority of shooters.

Then there is the size of these behemoths, be it 35mm or medium format. My Canon stays at home al lot more these days because of it’s size. Forget taking a medium format system on the road without a support team tagging along.

Which leads me back to my original thought. Here are some images shot on film from the last few years. I expect there will be more as I get images scanned and into the digital darkroom. The park image was shot on the Mamiya 7 and developed with the dr5 process I’ve spoken about before. The contact sheet is from a family project on the Littman with Polaroid Type 79 film. The scans were terrible and I’m going to get them rescanned at some point.