Posted on Tue 27 December 2011

You don’t take a photograph, you make it

Retro Pleasures

Looking back over 2011, one thing that strikes me is how much I rediscovered film photography over the course of this year.

It started with the gift of a lovely little [wooden pinhole camera(http://www.zeroimage.com/) for Christmas last year and I also ‘picked up’ an Olympus en half frame camera during that holiday. The little Olympus very quickly became the camera I would grab whenever I was heading out. Photos from this camera were like a visual journal and it was a very easy camera to use (with no focus and exposure controls), producing great results. Unfortunately I dropped this camera and it’s not possible to get it repaired for the moment.

Greedy Gull

The Zero Image pinhole camera produces strange, dreamy, photographs and the results are wonderfully unpredictable. The very long exposure times associated with a fixed aperture of f138 requires a careful choice of subject and a very measured style of taking photos compared to a camera like the Olympus.

Warriston Cemetery

I’m particularly interested in how shooting film contrasts with the approach taken in digital photography where it’s possible to shoot a huge number of photos and then pick the good ones. Some digital cameras like the new Nikon 1 even automate this process for you:

“This incredible feature starts recording before you fully press the shutter button and continues after you’ve clicked. It shoots 20 high-resolution images almost instantly then saves your best five.

Shots are recommended based on facial expression, composition and focus, so you’ll never again miss a smiling face or end up with a blurred image.”

I find than when I shoot with film I’m much more involved in that moment compared to when I use a digital camera. The choice of whether the results will be colour or black and white has already been made, and I am limited in the number of photographs I can take. I still use digital cameras and enjoy the results but I generally find I get a higher proportion of good results from those times when I use film.

Western Harbour

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