Why I shoot film

 

Shooting film Leica camera
My Small Walking Camera

I shoot film for all my principal photography. It is a personal choice.

My reasons for choosing film rather than digital are part technical, part aesthetic and part emotional. Ultimately, I think film makes me a better photographer, I enjoy the process more and I like the way the pictures look.

Film looks filmy and it’s fun to use. But I don’t want to make light of film, film offers some serious benefits for the serious photographic artist.

There is no doubt that digital is the best option for most kinds of photography.  So this is not a film versus digital debate. It is personal.

Firstly, film is an incredible teacher. My film cameras are really just dumb boxes, and film is very unforgiving when exposed to light. So when I shoot film, especially with a dumb camera, I have no choice but to learn to be a good technical photographer.  If I don’t, anything creative I might try to do, probably won’t look very good.  It is my keenness to learn photography which drives me towards film.

Using film puts in a particular environment which has a huge influence on how I make pictures.

Let me explain.

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100 Landscape Photographers Worth Knowing

We see these lists, all the time. Most are long, endless lists of boring sameness. Lifeless lists of lemmings; photographers, with a few exceptions, who all look the same. All copying each others work in a repetitive, diminishing circle of indistinguishable and interchangeable styles and ideas. Most lists are worthless.

Surely the purpose of such lists is to showcase artists where each has been carefully chosen to bring something of particular value into the sphere of other Landscape Photographers. An outward looking list. A rich tapestry of creative and functional ideas, styles and techniques; contrasting, challenging, thought provoking and truly useful. A mix of the established and the new, traditional and avant-garde. A diverse list which helps other photographers to grow.

So, I thought I would put together my own list below.

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A Technique for Editing Your Photography

I’d like to share some thoughts on editing, from my own perspective.

You may have your own methods, for your own purpose. For each of us, these might be very different. I hope these thoughts below might add something to your own thinking and workflow.

There is no one way, or right way, to edit your photography.

Editing for me, is not just an after task. Editing is a constant activity, on a continuum. It starts before I pick up a camera, it is present while I work my camera and it continues at any time I need to review, sort, select or arrange my finished photographs.

I am not talking here about retouching or the functional aspects of editing, which you might do in Photoshop. That is a different type of editing from which I speak of.

When I talk about editing, I am talking about the making of considered choices which drive my whole process of planning, capturing, finishing and presenting a photograph or body of work. It is about the how and the why I make those choices, and it is about the effect such choices have in helping to build and shape the photos I take. That is what I mean by editing.

Fundamental to me having a good editing process is my having a set of values and beliefs about photography. These are the foundations which guide the choices I make throughout my workflow and which influence the photographs I make.

Editing to me is as much about intent, and what drives that intent.

Let me explain…

© Copyright Steve Coleman. www.lightinframe.com

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The truth of a photograph

Photographs are taken for all sorts of reasons. But it is the ‘obvious’ verses ‘some truth’ which makes a photograph interesting to me.

All photographers are presented with the basic facts of a thing. Yet some photographers need to discover more. They want ‘a truth’ of the thing; to draw something out so that they and others might see something which is not so obvious.

The skill of the photographer is the clarity with which they can do that; take a photograph which can be made to exist as a meaningful thing beyond the obvious, something in its own right.

Leica M6 Camera

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Ashly Leonard Stohl and David Carol at SVA/NYC

Here’s a great talk by Ashly Leonard Stohl and David Carol at The School of Visual Arts in New York on May 16 2017.

Ashly and David understand photography. They get it. And they publish photo books through their business Peanut Press.  It’s a great combination.

Enjoy this video of their recent talk at SVA/NYC.

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© Copyright Steve Coleman. All rights retained. All images and writings are registered with the United States Copyright Office. Unauthorised reproduction or use of these images is strictly forbidden without the written permission of Steve Coleman. www.lightinframe.com