Shoot Film For a Month - tyneholm
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Shoot Film For a Month

Assignment S42

Despite the explosive advances in digital technology, film is still with us and it has made a comeback in recent years. Suddenly, people are interested in film once again and labs are dusting down their enlargers, community darkrooms are popping up, and film sales are rising. 

The premise of this assignment is simple: get yourself a film camera and commit to using it exclusively for a month. If you’re still in possession of a film camera, you’re in luck, but if you’re not, they are in plentiful supply and you can find them for sale in street markets, junk shops, and auction sites such as eBay. Whether it’s medium format or 35mm, color or black and white, it doesn’t matter. 

Just buy some of the stuff, get it loaded, and shoot some street photography – you’ll be in for a real treat! 

10 Reasons to Shoot Film

  1. Celebrate ‘slow art’. Shooting with film will really slow you down and make you think more about what you’re shooting. You will pay more attention to the composition and also to exposure and focusing.
  2. Rather like learning theory in music, shooting film will help you better understand the technical aspects of your camera.
  3. If you shoot using one type of film, your images will take on a consistent look (film shooters tend to find one type of film they like and then stick with it). This can help you develop your own personal style.
  4. If you really get into film you can start to do your own developing and printing, and learn a completely new skill set.
  5. You won’t be chimping all the time and you will be able to concentrate on the ‘here and now’.
  6. You will be more thoughtful when shooting – more conscious of your surroundings and more ‘in the zone’. You’ll also be more discerning about what to shoot and will become more self-critical.
  7. You won’t obsess about gear so much; the simplicity of film shooting will act as a ‘digital detox’.
  8. You will develop as a digital photographer as film shooting will make you think more critically about how you capture and process every single image.
  9. Prints made from film have a ‘look’ that digital can’t seem to replicate.
  10. It’s exciting; there is no instant gratification and the anticipation of seeing your photographs is a feeling like no other.

View the images

Technique

  • Film has a fixed ISO rating, but something medium-fast (ISO 400) is a good starting point. However, faster film can produce beautifully grainy results. 
  • If you fancy developing your own film, all you need is a developing tank and some chemicals and you can produce negatives relatively easily. 

Field Notes

  • If you’re buying a used film camera, go for a wideangle lens if possible (say 28-35mm on a 35mm camera, or 55-65mm on a medium-format camera). 
  • There’s a huge amount of material online dedicated to film, so learning the techniques and processes need not be a hurdle.