black & white

Why Film?

5 reasons why I want to shoot film. 

I gravitate toward old things: antique furniture, old whiskey bottles, the crackle of vinyl records, black and white movies, cloth covered books, vintage patterns, ... It's inevitable for me to try film, too. This is my first month with film, my first film rolls.

  • JOY. It makes me happy. I  am charmed by objects of the past. I value the stories attached to them. I like the idea that I have in my possession something that was valued by other people at a different time. Film cameras, especially the fully mechanical ones, are things of beauty and mechanical precision. I love looking through the waist-level viewfinder of my Rolleicord and learning about the inner workings of my Leica M3. They have a timeless quality to them, like a Rolex watch or a classic Chanel bag. 

  • INTENTION. 12 frames in a 120 roll, 36 on 35mm. I have hesitated trying film due to cost and inconvenience. I contemplated on how to have my rolls developed, scanned or printed. But I think this is the most important reason to shoot film, every photograph becomes meaningful because I want each frame to count. I am hoping this helps with my issue of having thousands of pictures sitting in my hard drive and taking months before I pick a handful of them.

  • SURPRISE. Film has an element of surprise. I sent out my first rolls last week and got the scans back yesterday. I received the notification while at work and I couldn't wait to get home to look at the scans. I didn't know if the cameras were functional when I bought them from Craigslist and eBay so I was pleasantly surprised that both the Leica M3 and Rolleicord photos look great. It was the output from the Canon AE-1 that disappointed me, the newest of the bunch. Then, there were also frames I have forgotten I have taken... 

  • TANGIBLE. In a time when the tactile sense does not seem to be valued as the other senses (everything is online) and things are moving to "the cloud," film is a form of archiving that still feels real. I gawked at the negatives and held them up to the light. I am amused by the experience of being able to touch the fleeting moments I captured on film. It is a new medium to me. And photography as a hobby and a craft, its physical form is more engaging.

  • PATIENCE. No instant gratification. It reminds me that life is full of uncertainties. And it IS okay. Learning a new medium also takes dedication and time. I bought used books to learn more about film, prints and techniques. I enjoy looking at works of great film photographers. So far, it's been a fun learning experience. 

Photo Set 2017.01 Foliage
Location: Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Gear: Leica M3/50mm Summicron and Rolleicord IV, Tri X 400 35mm and 120mm