"The dust and the grainy look on film developments are like the crackling sound of vinyl records. The mood is warm and soothing to the soul. I embrace imperfections!" - #filmisnotdead
The Zen of Analog Photography
Art provides a path for me to be free, create and to find internal peace. Art is therapeutic. I believe anything worth having usually does not come easy. A process is necessary. For instance, becoming a musician takes time. Learning to play an instrument is a creative process. I want those same experiences with my photography. I don't want 'instant satisfaction'. With photography, I am capturing a moment in time. Time needs time, so I feel what I record visually shouldn't have immediate results from a digital camera. I personally prefer to approach the art of photography with a more traditional method with analog equipment. I feel a strong sentimental connection to my film developments. Therefore, I am now seriously considering shooting film photography 100% simply because I am dedicated to the process of manually creating visual art.
"I feel a strong sentimental connection to my film developments" - #ishootfilm
With a limited amount of frames on a roll of film, I've adjusted to the idea that every shot must count. This idea is also true in life. Film photography is about investing in the moment. I am learning to spend less time worrying about things I can't control. I replace negative thoughts with enjoying simple things that I used to take for granted. However, the results aren't always free from flaws. The lesson is each attempt is better then the last. I am finding comfort in being in the moment; to stop, observe, think and create.
"Film photography is about investing in the moment."
Throughout all of the digital cameras I've purchased, sold, traded and bid for over the years, none of them have any sentimental value to me. Even my most favorite of them all, a FujiFilm X Pro 1...I loved using that camera. Yet when I sold it, I felt nothing. I knew the day that I brought it that I wasn't going to keep it forever, not even more than 2 or 3 years.
On the other hand, my old film cameras have stood the test of time. My Canon F1 and Yashica D are both older than me! These vintage cameras are well crafted, beautiful works of art. Despite their age they are extremely reliable. I don't hesitate to travel with them nor worry about a malfunction or dead batteries.
Film cameras are my cure for GAS! I am less burdened with having an over abundance of tech features on a digital camera that I rarely or never use. I want to control my environment with simple manual settings. I don't want a computer chip to determine my personal vision. My analog cameras help me to be in the moment and enjoy shooting again. I no longer need to shop for any unnecessary digital accessories anymore; just more film for me to shoot. The only non-essential photography-related thing that I now lust for is to add a Leica M2 to my vintage camera collection!
"I am not putting digital photography down or trying to disrespect those who thoroughly enjoy it...its just that the computerized process doesn't give me a sense of artistic pleasure. I personally prefer the simplicity of analog cameras. I want to control my creative vision and not depend on a computer chip to do the work for me."
During this past spring, I anticipated spending the summer months enjoying the sunshine, sporadic motorcycle rides and weekend getaways. I was especially looking forward to shooting more film photography, specifically with my medium format camera. However, the realities of life had other plans. Unexpected roadblocks and obstacles not only rerouted my summer excursions but totally derailed my level of creativity. Now that August is upon us, I missed out on some prime opportunities to expand my portfolio. Yet, I don't feel particular bad about it simply because I really had nothing to say artistically. The few times I did photography over the summer, I wasn't fully engaged in the process. I was shooting with film cameras 100% of the time yet I am not overly anxious to see the results right now either (I don't plan to do any film developing until the fall).
I feel that my creative drought is temporary and will eventually pass. I much prefer to be patient and allow inspiration to find me rather than force myself to shoot just to be shooting. I want my photography to have depth, purpose and meaning. Film photography has taught me to make every frame count. Capturing a micro-second of time should not be taken for granted. This is a simple belief in quality to quantity.
With that, I like to think that my creative process is in the brewing stages. Bold, flavorful coffee is a craft. It takes time, patience and passion. I can surely wait...
One of the many things that fascinates me about the art of photography is its connection to the past. Not just how we can freeze time; but more so the style and feel of using film cameras. I appreciate the craftsmanship and the noises... the quick snap of the shutter, the clink of the timer; I love it all! Film cameras are time machines.
Think about this fact; there are film photographs that are older than every human being alive on earth today. Most, we can assume, haven't even been preserved with the most precious care either. As for the equipment, analog cameras don't die. They may break, but they can be repaired. Film cameras don't depend on batteries (well, older manual cameras don't) or need to be upgraded for enormously, unnecessarily high megapixels and ISO. Film cameras don't even have to be expensive to produce superb images. As long as the lenses are clean and sharp, that is more than enough.
As for what I love most, its the ascetics of film developments…wow! They are beautiful. Even the flaws in film photographs have character and creates a mood that I don’t find in my digital images. I love the cracks, dust, odd colors and soft focus. I embrace what is on the negative. Even when I scan to digital, I find myself not editing out dust spots and such. Film photography for me is about honesty.
Here are a few 35mm photographs I recently rediscovered in my archives:
I am a street photographer using film and digital formats. I enjoy listening to good music, traveling, quiet time & peace.