At the turn of this year I decided to step away from digital photography, at least at the camera end and concentrate on film photography only. Nearing the half way mark I thought I’d share some pictures and thoughts on the story so far.
I’d like to say at this point, since I started this project I haven’t took or posted a single digital image. Why you may ask? In simple terms I believed that to progress, slow down, understand and look for more meaning in my work this was necessary. On my own blog www.streetframe.co.uk I have explained this too. In a digital world pace and speed is King, an afternoon street walk delivering 400 plus photographs, 400 to upload and probably 399 to delete! I’d also got trigger happy, nothing to stop me clicking away asides space on the memory card, ‘Make it easy for yourself on the streets’ autofocus, auto iso, aperture priority… ‘getting the shot is the most important thing’!
The thing is it isn’t, understanding why you’re taking pictures, what makes a good shot or not, is the light correct to support the emotion, Am I paying attention to my surroundings without the camera to my eye, will the world end if I miss the shot through poor focus, bad positioning or by simply not looking enough. These are the things I felt were most important and for me at this precise moment, digital was distracting me.
Now I know that nothing was stopping me do all the aforementioned things with my Fuji XPro1, a stunning camera I enjoy using very much and maybe it’s simply my own discipline that was lacking, either way it’s an experiment that has taught me many things. For a start I’ve learnt to develop all my own film, I scan my own developed negatives, all the pictures you see here have passed through my hands without any other influence and I love them. I feel more attached to them, they say more to me, my connection to photography has surpassed what it was before and that my friends is priceless believe me.
Of course haven’t ditched the digital ways, but for now they are as far away from my mind as they can be.
If you need a little inspiration, want to challenge yourself, then try shooting, developing and scanning your own film. I guarantee you’ll love it. Then there’s that quality, that timeless grain… you don’t need a preset in Lightroom to achieve it, just a roll of film (I use Ilford HP5) and a film camera (I use a Leica M6) hey presto it’s there for real!