Film: The True Lost Art

The first half of my photographic education was heavily involved in film and film development, whereas the latter half was solely dedicated to the bourgeoning techniques of digital technology.  I am extremely grateful for the schooling in both techniques - now more than ever.  Sadly, the former is sliding into a lost art, only being kept alive by the purists and proprietors of the vintage and exceptional.  Over the last week, I journeyed back into the film medium and rediscovered a brand of craftmanship, which, sadly, I fear is soon to be destined for the history books. Why do I say this?  Just the simple act of shooting a few rolls of film - and knowing the financial costs of each exposure - has made me realize how for granted we take the digital 'advantage'.  Instant gratification, instant review, instant approval, instant results.  In many ways, the modern photographer is spoiled rotten. Not to mention the blossoming ignorance of the up and coming shutterbug.

This past Monday, I set up my hasselblad (which was originally made for this work) with a roll of 120 Ektachrome G 100 film - i.e. ONLY 12 exposures.  I had chosen a rather handsome daisy to be my subject - why a flower? Mainly because it will sit still and not argue with me.  

Here are a few of the results:

Hasselblad 503cw with 80mm f/2.8 - Kodak Ektochrome G 100ASA - f11 @125th; Snooted flash above

Hasselblad 503cw with 80mm f2.8 with #32 tube - Kodak Ektochrome G 100ASA - f16 @125th ; snooted flash opposite camera and left, flagged, and a white bounce below camera to bring out the details of the stem

Hasselblad 503cw with 80mm f/2.8 with #32 & #56 tubes - Kodak Ektochrome G 100ASA - f16 @125th; snooted flash high above, flagged camera left and above

What struck me about doing these images is I had to really really think through each shot - in detail. Lighting, prep, metering, metering, metering, and metering. There's no "shoot it and see what it looks like" or, "shoot it and I'll just photoshop it later" nonsense. I had to measure my highlights, my midtones and my shadows. When I clicked the shutter, that was that. I was instantly out $1.25, even if my flash didn't fire, or I missed a detail.

I will be posting more this weekend and the coming week, including the second part of the metering series. Saturday's posting will be especially unique as I took a chance with an idea and it paid off quite well, owing to patience and a small degree of chance.

In the end, this experience has really brought a lot of of the aspects of photography back into my conscience, not to mention giving the right side of my brain a much needed jolt of reality and creativity.

Admittedly, going through this whole process of shooting, waiting, and finally reviewing has made me realize how much freer I am shooting digital - I gave my digital back a hug this afternoon. However, I realize, that 'digital advantage' has sedated my thought processes. A more traditional and almost anachronistic approach is needed to awaken artistic possibilities and bring about the chances to grow.