Thursday, September 30, 2010

A film resurgence - or perhaps something else.

BJP talks with Scott DiSabato, US marketing manager for Professional film at Kodak, after the release of the new Portra 400 film where he is spruiking the resurgence of film. His view is that many, formally digital shooters, are finding film, enjoying the challenge and results and a new dawn of photographers will discover the benefits of film, leading to its growth and reclamation of at least part of its former glory.

I think, perhaps, that there is also another phenomenon going on based on my involvement in a number of groups. People like me that never got into photography because, frankly, it was a pain. Learning was slow, and frustrating, and oh so expensive. Sure some
punched through that phase but many of us shrugged, found something else and moved off to a new past time.

But then digital came and we could learn quickly and easily (and cheaply). Instead of toiling away, taking notes, toiling laboriously through film, processing it and printing it(or waiting for the lab) we were able to zip through the lessons. Grasping concepts that previously took days, or weeks, or months in minutes. Because it was there, immediately, you got to see the result while you still remembered what you did.

And then we understood exposure and composition and lighting, we had confidence. And film wasnt so scary, wasnt so difficult, it was just like 'normal' photography without using the review screen much. And this photography has 'street cred' its smart, and cool and somehow more real. We keep shooting digital but we see film as a viable choice and something we will really work to master. We start thinking of medium format. We buy old bronica's or pentax's or contax's.

But here's the bad news. One day, when wee are picking up the prints and paying the man 20-30 dollars for processing a single roll of MF film and there isnt a single shot on the roll that we really, truly, in our heart of hearts actually like we stop shooting film.

Well thats my story anyway.

I dont doubt that film use is stabilising, there will always be a core of people that love it, that romanticise it that make the rest of us keen to try it. But film hasnt changed and the reasons not many were really into film havent really gone away. So film wont die, it will linger on, inspiring some and teasing many more, but I cant see it ever being more than that.

A tease that very few actually grow to love.

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