Starting out: Why should you shoot Film?
MFA displays the works of some truly talented film photographers - hopefully their words and imagery have inspired you to take up film as well. But what about if you still need some persuasion?
My first 35mm camera was an Olympus Shoot & Go R that my boyfriend at the time bought for me in Japan. Despite it being unbelievably simple to use, I remember spending months nervous about loading the film in wrong, googling all these new terms I didn't understand. Eventually, I figured it out, and that small plastic Olympus came everywhere - on holiday, in my bag on a night out, shoved into a coat pocket as I ran out the door. Many rolls later, that camera is one of the best gifts I've ever received, it was my first step into the world of film, and allowed me to take the photos I'd been trying to capture for years.
I know how daunting moving to film photography can be, so I wanted to collect all the information I was searching for in one place. Fundamentals is a blog series that will take you through all you need to know to begin your film journey. It will cover everything from camera reviews to film stocks to finding inspiration. But for this week, where better to start than to answer the question:
Why should you shoot film?
Analogue photography allows you to push yourself. It forces you to really think about the scene in front of you, and how you want that to come across. Having a limited number of exposures means being intentional about the photos you take. With digital it's easy to take hundreds of pictures at once, hoping that amongst them will be a great one. But film is about trying to capture a moment in one shot, taking the time to compose and craft the image you want. You learn to trust your eye and discover what you really like to shoot. You get control - this is a way to show how you see the places and people around you.
I really enjoy not having that immediate product as well, and I still get excited picking up my photos from the developers, or seeing the email with my scans come through. You invest time in film photography, and consequently the results feel more special than anything you quickly grab a photo of on your phone.
There's a huge film community that you get to be a part of as well - whether you want to know more about a technique, share your work or find the best camera to suit you, there are always people who love to help. Share with your friends, get them involved. There is no better gift than a beautiful photo you took of someone.
And there is nothing wrong with wanting to shoot film simply because it looks cool. That aesthetic is a huge part of why we're still using analogue. Even if you're not interested in learning the ins and outs of a camera, there are cheap point and shoots available that are easy to use and will give you that classic grainy look you are chasing. With so many different film stocks around as well, film is fun, adaptable and can definitely be affordable.
So what do you need to get started?
Over the next few weeks the Fundamentals series will be going into more detail about all the different aspects of analogue photography, but all you really need are a camera and a roll of film. If you've only ever shot on digital before it can be difficult at first to get used to such a different way of capturing images. But please don't let this discourage you. Everyone makes mistakes. There are always going to be photos that didn't turn out the way you expected; dark and underexposed, the subject out of focus, maybe even the smudge of a finger over the lens. Take your time with it. Think about what went wrong and try something different next time. It's about slowly making changes and refining your technique. That's one of the reasons I love film photography so much. You have to work for those shots, but when you get them, when you have perfectly captured how that moment felt, nothing compares.
Author : Becca Knight