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, 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 lite 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.
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.
Two photographs made with two very different, but unique, cameras.
Can you spot the difference? And, should the camera make any difference to how we judge these photographs?
I think sometimes we feel we need a special camera to make a great photograph. And while I do understand that at times we need specialised equipment for particular results, in most cases the camera should not matter. But is that true with these two pictures?
I worry that our fixation on equipment comes at the expense of us developing our vision and creative skills which I think are far more decisive to the outcome than any camera we might choose to use.
Here are two photographs below, both of which I love. They are artful expressions of my love of the outdoors. Both would sit well in a body of work and both will look beautiful mounted and framed.
I am wondering, what is creativity? And, what can we do to become more creative photographers?
Of course, there are no easy formulas. And this short post can not even start to answer such profound questions. However, I think there are a few ideas which can help us. Let me share two. But first, some context.
Over the last few years I have been on a journey into photography. Like many people, I have been trying to discover and develop my creative side. I have always enjoyed building, crafting and making things, particularly photographs. And while these are often seen as ‘creative’ activities, the simple act of making something, does not, by default, mean we have been or are creative. Making things can be very functional, lacking in any creativity.
Many people speak of creativity using nice woolly words like soul, mood, passion, feeling and spark. And yes, these are all great words to wrap around the concept of creativity, however they are not particularly helpful in giving us some real goalposts to aim at.
For me, creativity implies that we have created or added ‘something extra’. It is that bit of ‘magic’ which will occasionally take what we make and transport it to a special place.
Here are two things I have learnt which have help me to understand what creativity is and how to find it.