... I love film photography with all of my heart.
These quotes encompass so much about why I choose to be an analogue photographer. "Film photography is one of the most beautiful, relentless and timeless forms of art still being practiced today. To live intentionally and create intentionally allows us to create soulful, empowering and romantic images while keeping film and everything beautiful about it alive" - @maejamaeja.
"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving" - Aaron Siskind.
Oh, and here is one from me "film is not dead for it very much is alive!"
Being an artistic, I am drawn to images that have soul, a timeless authenticity, and texture.
Working with film fits perfectly with my aesthetic and approach, it helps to set me apart from other garden photographers, and helps to keep film alive.
As a child, I shot film, as a recent Fine Art Wedding Photographer I shot digital SLR, but when I switched to film photography it proved transformative. I was instantly hooked on slowing things down, truly considering what I saw in front of me and through the viewfinder, and focusing on capturing feelings rather than sharpness.
Aesthetic, Approach & Light
I moved from digital to film to elevate my style, have endless possibilities for creative exploration, and to offer my clients heirloom, premium photography. I soon became smitten with film after instantly falling in love with the results, and process.
Film thrives in natural light and due to its broad dynamic range, is so forgiving when it comes to overexposure, and retains details in highlights so well compared to all other photographic mediums. Film naturally blends light and colours like no other too, and its beautiful grain adds to the texture, plus character of an image.
I work in complimentary natural light, so damp, dull rainy days are a non-starter. But on a day when gifted forgiving light that tends to takes place when harsh summer light is softened by thin white cloud, during early morning/late evening light, or during the months either side of summer when the light is soft with usually a golden glow, this is when film thrives, and the magic happens.
Film not only produces a stronger and richer image but additionally provides unmatched aesthetics that can not be produced by other photographic medium . Each shot on a film camera is unique.
Film is the truest form of an image because it’s able to retain all detail. This is possible because film captures light and colour like no other.
Working with film, and retro cameras with character is a beautiful thing. I love the simplicity of using film, that it makes you slow things down, live in the moment and shoot intentionally, not only with your subject but with your content; with what you are creating. I have always shot with consideration, but never more so than with film. Every shot matters.
I adore that retro film cameras are devoid of complex grids, huge autofocus points across the viewfinder, plus horizontal spirit levels, that allows me to see the world in front of me.
I love that I simply spend quality time in a garden creating behind my camera, waiting a couple of days for the film-lab scans, with no need for editing.
Film photos are a blending of color, texture, and light that create an in-depth look that’s more natural to digital photos. Nothing is washed out or blurred. Details pop, and colors come alive.
Film offers a tactile experience like no other medium
The physical nature of handling film, the smell of film, loading film into a camera, working with a classic camera, and manually focusing a camera is incredibly engaging and rewarding.
Film cameras, particularly older or mechanical models, offer rich sensory feedback. The sound of the shutter, the physical sensation of advancing film, plus the sound that makes, the texture and characteristic of the camera body & lens, the sound and vibration of a spent roll of film rewinding all contribute to a sensory-rich experience.
The kit I love to use
Mamiya 645 Medium Format 120/220 film coupled with a Zeiss 80mm f1.9 lens, and a Canon EOS-1V coupled with Canon's 50mm f1.2 lens
For detail shots I will sometimes use Canon's 100mm f2.8 Macro lens for detail shots.
"120 format was once largely the domain of professional photographers, all of these film stocks have been made with pros in mind; guaranteeing solid results and technical excellence every time." Analogue World.
Film, I use Portra 400 mostly. Photographers around the world praise its colour rendition, saying that it’s one of the most neutral close to life films in terms of colour accuracy.
Helping to keep film alive
Film is experiencing an upswing of pro' photographers returning to analog film cameras.
In 2023, there was an upswing of professional photographers returning to analog film cameras, and for those that shoot analogue will be delighted to know this. Apparently, film is so old, that photography students see film as the new 'new'.
Fancy trying film or want to share your experience of film?
I would love to hear from you.
Michael Grothaus, a novelist and author created an interesting article last year entitled 'In a generative AI world, analog film photography is making a comeback'.
The beauty of shooting film photography relies on the artist's ability to create an image that feels intentional, real and authentic.