Why I'm Shooting Film?
If you think about it, digital photography is the one that is fairly new... Not film.In the mid to late 1990s, digital cameras became more available and by the mid 2000s they had sadily replaced most of the film cameras.
It always makes me laugh when people ask "how do you know how the photos will come out?" or "how do you know what you're shooting?"
"What do you mean I can't see the photos now?" or my favourite, "why do you want to spend all that money to shoot film, doesn't it all look the same?"
20 years ago most of us were shooting film! I remember my Mum running around with an old Minolta or Holga on my 14th birthday... I still remember the smell of Polaroids in our family albums. They were so, so cool! Every photograph was scrupulously printed by my Mother, glued inside an album and than carefully organised by year. Now it seems we have forgotten we shot film for generations... and we have forgotten how to use analogue cameras.
“We are nonchalantly throwing all of our data into what could become an information black hole without realising it. We digitise things because we think we will preserve them, but what we don’t understand is that unless we take other steps, those digital versions may not be any better, and may even be worse, than the artefacts that we digitised,” Cerf told the Guardian back in Febraury.
“If there are photos you really care about, print them out.”
There is something physical about shooting film. Film rolls, negatives, developing, scanning and printing. I think it's so romantic! My first film camera was Pentax A3 semi automatic, with a fixed 50mm 1.4 lens. When I was 17, I used to take it around Warsaw with me and shoot my friends; it was fun. Once I started my University, I was shooting 35mm on Nikon and Pentax, filming movies with super 8 and developing all my black & white films spending hours and hours in the darkroom. It was great. Developing, drying, enlarging and printing all my images. I could literally see them coming to life and it felt magical…
Then I got a digital body to fit all my old Nikon lenses (I think I had 12 awesome lenses that I "borrowed" from my Grandad and my favourite uncle). I think that was back in 2005. Ever since that day, I have been shooting digital and every single day I have been trying to get back that film-like look through endless editing, fixing, photoshopping, trying out different light situations etc.
No matter what you do and how hard you try, the RGB will never ever look like film. Film always manages to look better... Always! Skin tones, softness, grain, bokeh, details in blacks and whites. Film is the bees knees!
After shooting digital all these years and trying to get the film-look back in post editing (think hours and hours of work), I felt like I needed to start shooting film again. I started to ask myself: why are we spending all these hours in front of a computer trying to make RAW images look soft, grainy and warm? Just like film does? Why don't we shoot film and spend NO time in front of the computer… We would have more time to shoot, to enjoy our work and the results would be better! Genius right?
I knew I need to change. I needed to get inspired and excited again. I needed to love my photos and figure out what I had to do to make them look how I felt they should be looking.
I've attended 4 major workshops and funnily enough, totally unconsciously, I have chosen workshops with the best film shooters on the planet! Call it destiny!
The workshop with Miguel Varona in Barcelona was my first one. I loved Miguel’s photos and I knew he shot on film but had no idea what camera he used, which film type, how it all worked when shooting full a wedding on film... I was totally green! After Miguel’s workshop, I bought my first Contax 645, and I simply stared at it for 5 months before picking it up & shooting. I was so scared of it! Film is quite expensive! I didn't want to waste film, time and money so I waited 5 months till the perfect photo opportunity came along. By chance I saw that Joy Thigpen and Emily Newman were holding one of their fantastic Studio Sessions in Mallorca, just a short 30 minute flight from Ibiza! The next thing I knew, I was on the plane to Palma to join them. I was met by the hotel driver and taken to the most amazing boutique hotel in Baleares. I felt like I was in a movie! The setting, hotel grounds, lavender fields, fresh rosemary, the sound of the crickets at night, Joy's smile, Emily's giggle, smell of jasmine and salty thermal waters, the endless conversations we had each and every night...
There and then I knew I had found my passion again! I felt so inspired, understood, mesmerised, excited and connected! I had this warm, peaceful feeling growing inside me every time I listened to Joy or talked with Emily. We shot film! Joy styled the inspiration wedding shoot to perfection and we spoke about creativity, art, colour palettes, feelings, emotions, smells, happiness and understanding the importance of details + styling. They live and breathe what I felt waking up inside of me. Studio Sessions were amazing.
I knew there was no going back, only moving forward.
After every workshop I had more and more questions. My head was spinning. How do I make the transition from shooting digital to film if I'm getting booked a year or two in advance? How the hell would I shoot 100% film in Ibiza... I needed a lab to process the film rolls! How should I price my work? How would I explain why I had gone back to film to my new clients? How could I find clients who loved and wanted me to shot on film?
It took me 12 months, 4 workshops, lots of film rolls, meeting new people and chasing my dreams to finally say: I WANT TO SHOOT FILM and film only! And to realise I totally can! It's something I've been longing for since the day I got my first digital camera.
I have met some amazing people along the way; Miguel Varona, Carmencita Film Lab team, Joy Thigpen, Emily Newman, Jose Villa, Laurie Arons, Jonathan Canlas (OMG HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS GUY!), Sarah Winward, Michael Ferire, Karina Puente, Diva Borrelli and many many more! Thank you for inspiring me and reminding me that there's a lot of über creative, passionate people out there who love their work and who get crazy excited about perfectly ironed table linen, who go mad for perfect skin tones, people who speak colours, who match colour palette of the entire wedding to the colour palette of the venue or seasonal plants and flowers. People who spend months designing packaging for their clients, guys who tell you all their secrets because they just want to share their love for photography and create something truly beautiful...
Thank you for showing me the light!
#filmisnotdead #letsshootsomeamazingstuff #cantwaitforthesummerseason
(Photos shot on a Contax 645 f2 with Fuji Pro400H film, developed and scanned by CARMENCITA FILM LAB)