Tuesday, October 17

What they don’t get…

There it is again. I’ve seen this article in about a million versions and it’s always about the same thing: why shoot film when you can emulate its look with digital means.

*sigh*

Orangerie, Sanssouci Berlin, May 2008. Picture by Chris Marquardt http://www.chrismarquardt.com

What these kind of articles completely disregard is that there are so many other reasons to shoot film than just the look. Working with film is one of the best things you can do to become a better digital photographer. The process teaches you how to expose (ever shot with a hand-held light meter and had to decide what to use as a reference?), how to pour a bit more effort into every single shot (each click will cost you). It will help you slow down (tried 4×5″ large format yet?) and it will make you appreciate the wonders of infrared light and shadow detail without having to sacrifice any highlights. Film will even teach you to see what’s important in your picture by making you manually choose where to focus.

If you manage to digitally emulate the look of analog film, then you emulate that film at one ISO, with one specific developer using one specific agitation method at one specific temperature and one specific developer dilution. Those are at least five parameters that you can change. Give the film more light, do a pull development with a different developer using a different development time and your result will be completely different from that digital emulation.

Film is organic. It’s on a sliding scale and any emulation of “the film look” will always be a teeny tiny scratch on the surface of what is possible. Compare a few different recipes on filmdev.org and you’ll know what I mean.

(via Petapixel)