Ruminations on Film Based Photography

I’ve been involved with a black and white photography challenge  on Facebook the last couple of days as well as ruminations with friends over the advantages and disadvantages of film versus digital. I’ve come down on the side of digital because it gives me the advantage of making the final picture look any way I want. Total control, that’s what I always wanted when I was shooting film, and it always seemed to escape me, despite having risen to the heady heights of being able to print fine art B&W prints. I would agree that a fiber based B&W print has a textile feel that is difficult to copy, although Hahnemühle Paper now does a very good version.

However as soon as the image becomes digitized I fail to see the advantage of film, but, having said this, tonight I am beginning a project in which I will shoot a series of portraits using medium format film. I am, if anything, inconsistent in my opinions.

It’s true I enjoy the ritual of loading and preparing a shoot with film, because so much depends on things that can’t be corrected at the time of making the picture and so many things can go wrong between pressing the shutter release and the developed negative.

To give the project a little more spice, 36 people will be photographed in the one session but each will be allowed only one frame. If you blink or move at the inappropriate time, that’s too bad because that’ll be the picture.

Technical details of today’s pictures are irrelevant except that they were shot with a digital camera and processed to look like they were shot with a medium format film camera.


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