Why on earth have I bought myself a film camera? When I managed to grab it from eBay for the princely sum of one hundred of your finest British pounds, I knew exactly why I wanted it: I wanted the simplicity of a manual camera, something that forced me to think harder about the image that I was trying to produce. Now, with it sat on my desk without any film in it (I’m heading into town later to pick up some Ilford HP4), I find myself wondering if I’m not just distracting myself from learning more about my craft.
They talk about the experience of shooting with the cameras and shooting film. If I want a film experience I can dig out a 128 mb card to shoot on and wait a week to look at the images. If I want the toy camera look I can slap on my Lens Baby or hit one of a gazillion different Filters/Actions in Photoshop. It feels like I am going against the trend by wanting to take what I do and get better at it. I want to best at what I shoot and print.
So, as I sit here navel-gazing whilst some tests run (I’m working today in order to take Wednesday off for a shoot) I find myself wondering I’m not just trying to follow in the footsteps of Bert Stephani, Pieter van Impe et. al.? Film’s definitely not dead, but wouldn’t I be better honing my craft as a photographer rather than picking up a film camera and all the associated expenses that go with it?
I don’t know the answer yet; I guess I need to shoot a roll of film first before I come anywhere near knowing. I’ve never shot film (on an SLR) before, and I’ve never used an entirely manual camera before either; I’d like to at least find out whether I like it or not.