Film. Photos. Finally.
As an experiment, I only took film to Memphis and tried to really slow my shooting process down as well as curb the urge to take a billion photos like I am tempted to do with digital. Annie Leibovitz talked about how she used to be so afraid she didn’t get the shot as a young photographer, but she had developed a better sense of having the photo she wanted at this point in her career. I’ve tried to use that as a reference point as of late. It’s not easy for a lot of reasons, one of which being that digital cameras/culture encourage a “more is better” philosophy. I hear photographers and art directors alike say “It’s digital, it doesn’t cost anything,” which is only half true. We all have a tendency to think that more is better or that if we keep pushing it, we’ll get it, or if we missed it once, somewhere, in those 600 images lies another that’s a close second. Where we pay for it is later down the road when we find ourselves mired in the pixelated glut of thousands of photos.
There were many times where I was really wishing I could look at the back of the camera, double check my exposure, flip through the last few images and make sure it was going well. The medium format camera I took had no internal metering, so I was doing ratios in my head based on my 35mm (and different ISOs!) which I’m sure is going to yield some interesting results. Math was never my strong suit. And at times when things were going really well and the energy was right where I wanted it, having to stop to change rolls of film would sometimes kill the mood.
On the upside, I love the way film looks, always. The wait between mailing off my film and getting it back is the best kind of agony, and I enjoy that kid-on-Christmas feeling of getting a box of photos in the mail. Editing them is relatively painless, as I really try not to do very much to them. The biggest change for me with this batch was that I’d really experimented with different shots. I’ve gotten contact sheets before where it was pretty much the same image 36 times and I’m quick to take the same shot over and over with digital. (As I’m reading what I’ve written it is apparent that I’ve got a lot of bad photo habits.)
These were all taken in and around my empty house in Memphis using T-MAX, TRI-X, and FUJI SUPERIA. I pushed everything to at least 800 ISO, and often a lot further with the TRI-X. That stuff might as well not even have a rating on it. I’ve put a few extras on my site and I hope you’ll venture on over.
(Side note: I ordered some special paper for the zine and it arrived earlier this week. Things are coming along rather nicely. See you Monday.)