film photography

Shooting film is not vegan

[...] film is not a vegan product. Film is made of gelatin, which, as you may know, is a product of animal bones.

I never thought about it.

While this is not a big deal (no animals are killed to produce film), I have thought about the environmental cost of shooting film before and I have mixed feelings.

I am aware that the production of digital cameras isn't good either.

After almost two years developing film, though, it's hard for me to think that my digital cameras have had a similar footprint in the environment. Imagine the 250+ rolls of film I've shot so far: the film itself, the backing paper, the spools, the chemicals, water and paper used for development, the archival sleeves, the energy to scan them.

And I don't even have a darkroom.

Artist Interviews: Martina Kettner

Artist Interviews: Martina Kettner

TGIF! Also, the first Artist Interview of October is here.

Martina Kettner is a film photographer from Austria. I'm a big fan of her work as a whole, but particularly the images she creates with her Holga. Let's learn more about her and her photography!

All images in this post were made by Martina Kettner.

Read More

DSLRs are the new film

As it usually happens with big corporations, it's taking much longer than anticipated. It's happening nevertheless: there's no room for mirrors in the future of mainstream photography.

They were just a patch to solve a problem that doesn't even exist with today's technology. They are irrelevant and unnecessary.

And that makes them cool.

Just kidding. Kind of.

The reason why I shoot film is because it's the only way I can make images with a tool like the Bronica.

For the same reason, plenty of people will keep using their DSLRs because it will be the only way to get that experience. Mirrorless cameras are lighter and smaller, they bring a lot of advantages but they change the way we take photographs.

And of course, there are people who'll embrace the flaws of DSLRs, especially the early ones that came out years ago.

DSLRs are the new film. They are about to become a niche in photography, used by some only because of the unique experience (and probably look) you can achieve with them.

I'm excited about it.

Cinestill Df96, black and white film developing made easy?

Eduardo Pavez runs a great channel about film photography on YouTube. In his latest video he tries Cinestill Df96, a monobath solution that promises to make developing -black and white film- much easier.

Instead of dealing with multiple chemicals (developer, stop bath, fixer...), this solution does it all. Pour it in the tank and after 3 minutes your negatives will be ready to wash.

I can't wait to try it myself -I don't know of any place here in Europe that carries Df96 just yet.

I can see one gotcha with this new product: achieving the right temperature. The trick is to get the solution to the temperature indicated for your film stock and exposure.

If you've developed film before, you know that getting any solution to the right temperature can be the most challenging part of all! Surely, one of the most time consuming steps.

I have to hold off on giving my final opinion on this new monobath solution until I try it, but it looks like the savings in time from using just one chemical can be erased trying to get the solution to the right temperature.

My dream camera

Have you ever thought about what your dream camera would look like?

Mine would look something like this.

I want a mini Bronica SQ. Smaller and lighter, using a new type of film for 5x5 frames, 16 exposures per roll.

The viewfinder would stay the same, a little smaller due to the overall size reduction. You'd be able to switch to a fully electronic viewfinder (very much like the Fuji X100 series) with a live preview of the exposure and the film you have loaded in the back. This preview can simulate pushing and pulling as well.

If you run out of batteries, it should still work using the optical viewfinder.

I'd like to have just one lens, a zoom lens with a range of 20-300mm. f/4 would be more than enough.

When taking a long exposure, it should be able to show you the image as it's being "built". Of course, simulating the effect film will have on it. This way, you could stop it once it looks good and not before or after.

This would be the perfect camera for a hybrid shooter.

What would yours look like?

The one and only reason why I shoot film

It's not because of the "film look" - I can achieve very similar results from a digital file.

It's not because it's cool - although this is a good bonus, who doesn't want to be cool?

It's not because it slows me down - you can be as slow as you want with your digital camera.

It's not because it costs me money, thus it makes me think twice before pressing the shutter - I do shoot more with a digital camera, but I'm merciless when it comes to delete pictures afterwards.

It's not because I like the smell of the chemicals - I do not.

It's not because I like to develop and scan my negatives - I don't mind it too much, but sometimes I wish someone else could do it for me.

No, it's not because of any of these reasons.

The one and only reason why I shoot film is because it's the only way I can shoot with my Bronica.

The experience I get while making images with that camera is unique, and there's no digital camera (under $50k) that can offer me the same.

When I shoot with the Bronica, I'm a better photographer and a better artist.

And this alone, is worth the effort and the cost.

April, 2000 -

My mom is a collector of memories.

For years, she spent a lot of money and time putting together photo albums with side notes: where we went, what we ate, how we felt.

"1985-90", "90-93"

They are images of the highlights of our lives: that wedding, that party, that birthday, that day at the beach.

"April, 2000 - ", says the label of the very last photo album.

As you turn pages on that album, you start noticing that whereas one from the 90s would have 3-4 photos per event, this one had 10-20, getting worse and worse towards the end.

No more side notes, no more anecdotes.

And one day, suddenly, no more photos.

There wasn't room for all of them.

Digital happened.