2011 Project – Fabulous Film Fridays
Last year my ‘photo project’ was The Daily Snap where I posted one photo per day taken with a digital point-n-shoot camera (mostly my Canon G11). The exercise was intended to keep me practicing photography on a daily basis to help keep my eye ‘tuned’. I also wanted to show that great photos could be made with any kind of camera. It’s not the gear… well, you know the rest.
This year I am partnering up with my gal and creative partner, Samantha Chrysanthou to present our mutual project, Fabulous Film Fridays. Every Friday for the next year we will be posting shots we have taken with film cameras–remember film? Between the two of us we still have 8 film cameras (4 each) and we plan to dust these off and make new photos during 2011. Samantha has two Nikon 35mm film cameras (an FE and an F70), an orange Holga named Beep and a beautiful 4×5 view camera named Tachihara Tim by her brother Andy. Go here to read Sam’s interview with me about this project.
Let’s let Sam explain in her own words why she was keen to be part of the project.
Darwin: Why are you excited to be making new images with film?
Samantha: Well, even though I’m a relatively recent convert to photography, (I started shooting seriously about five years ago) I always had some kind of film camera to play with when growing up. I’ve always been attracted to the physicality of the film camera. When I traveled in Europe, my camera was the little FE. I loved the process of loading the film, hearing the cogs turn as you wind, and the satisfying metallic click when you press the shutter. The heft to some film cameras is also wonderful. Although the magic of exposing film still occurs out of sight, the film camera itself is all about a very mechanical and visual process. Think about my 4×5, Tachihara Tim: its parts are all clearly visible! Digital cameras are like a black hole — everything happens along circuits out of sight in the guts of the camera. How romantic is that?
Darwin: Leave it to a woman to base her decisions on romance!
Sam: Who cried at the end of Happy Feet? I agree with you in part. Although it’s not very romantic when I’m swearing and scratching my head when I get my film back. But it really is more about the mechanical process. I like to paint and draw. When I pick up a pencil, I can scratch a mark on clean, white paper. I am directly involved in the creation of my art because of the physicality of the tool used. For me, old film cameras are like that. I am an intrinsic part of a mechanical process that leads to a creation. It’s very satisfying. Pressing a button on a digital camera is just not as involved nor as rewarding, somehow.
Darwin: What about the convenience and control of digital?
Samantha: Oh, that is not to be underestimated! But I think of my photo business when I think of digital. I don’t think first and foremost of a thoughtful, artistic process. Using a film camera forces you to think more and slow down. It also forces you to be organized and methodical, especially if you want to learn and improve. When you are more present in the creation of art, I think you have a chance to make greater art. Digital cameras make us lazy artists, sometimes.
Darwin: Tackling a 4×5 view camera seems like a daunting task, why bother?
Samantha: I have a Holga (named Beep) and the large format camera. Can you get more extreme than that? The Holga is fun and a bit hit or miss. I’ve found out it has light leaks that I’m not sure I like that yet. Holga is play-time. The 4×5 is all about meditation. From the moment I open it up, I’m in love with its gorgeous cherry wood and brass fittings. It is a work of art in and of itself! What a great way to start thinking about creating a photograph. So, while I bought the 4×5 partly because of its inherent aesthetics, I also wanted to learn more about the fundamentals of photography with a very mechanical tool. Tachahara Tim is like my FE’s grandpa. With time and patience, I’ll ‘hear’ many stories. Hopefully some of them will turn out!
Darwin: So, why Fridays?
Samantha: Well, Fabulous Film Wednesdays just doesn’t sound as good. My Mom’s an English teacher, and she’d probably vote for Fridays over Wednesdays, too.
Darwin: Good point. Well, it sounds like you’ll have a fun year ahead of you.
Samantha: I hope so! Otherwise maybe we can make a few bucks selling 8 useless cameras. By the way, Beep is red, not orange.
Darwin: Red? That baby is definitely orange.
Samantha: You photoshopped it that way. But it is definitely more red than orange.
Darwin: Uh-oh, our first argument!
Samantha: Can the owner call the colour? Or maybe we should take a poll. But it is hard to tell in the portrait above.
Darwin: We’ll have to use the image below. Red or orange, everyone!
Sam and Darwin’s film cameras for Fabulous Film Fridays