This month's journal warrants a few introductory words.
In April, I was cleaning out an old box and came across some film scans from 2011. I gave up on film that summer after a roll I shot on a day trip to Maine couldn't be processed (that's what you get for going to CVS) and I didn't want to worry about any future trips being spoiled. I put my film camera away and shot nothing but digital for the next five years. Over time, I began editing my images to have that film "look" and was pretty happy with the results. Still, I wasn't 100% satisfied. I obsessed over the work of contemporary photographers who shot primarily with film and realized that many of my favorite images, new and old, were film shots.
Looking at those old scans, my curiosity outpaced my fear of losing another roll, so I dove back into it. And, so far, so good. The first couple of rolls had more misses than hits, but I'm getting better. I recently started shooting with a Leica M6, which is challenging in that it's fully manual and requires more thought per shot than I've ever been used to. What I didn't expect, though, is how shooting film would teach me to slow down, think more about framing and light, and be more observant. With digital, there's an impulse to shoot everything and anything, taking 10 frames of the same scene and worrying about which one is best later. When you're shooting through a $7.00 roll that costs upwards of $20.00 to process, that freedom quickly becomes less free.
Many will say that shooting film teaches them patience, and I've found that to be true. Time becomes a funny thing. I don't get to preview my images while I'm shooting (though it took me a little while to shake the habit of looking at a screen after each click), and often, days will pass before I get to see the final result.I think that's a good thing in that it gives me a separation between creating and seeing the images, and makes me more objective. Another advantage of shooting film is that I find myself spending much less time editing my work, and let the image be the image. After a few tweaks in exposure or contrast, I'm pretty much done. It feels like a much more organic way of making photographs.
Don't get me wrong - there's still a time and a place for digital and I continue to use it, especially for client work. For now, I'm really enjoying shooting my personal work in film and essentially learning (and falling in love with) photography all over again.
This month's journal entry is comprised of some of my favorite film shots from May. If you're curious, they're mostly taken on Portra 400, with the exception of a couple shot on Superia 400.