With our focus being heavily on analog this month, we thought that we’d round up a collection of stories in order to educate those looking ot know more about the format and for those that are already smitten with it. 35mm, medium format, large format, pinhole, instant film: it’s all covered here. But beyond this, we’ve also got a couple of fun projects and inspiration for the photographer looking to simply try something new.
Every photographer should attempt to try to shoot film at least once in their life. But when we say attempt, we mean give it a really big effort. For one, they learn to actually interact with a scene more and not necessarily become attached to the pixels that they see on an LCD screen, and further it teaches them more about how exposures work and how to get better pictures faster.
Want to get started in Film Photography? Here’s how.
Don’t know how and what film to choose for your first analog camera? Photographer Stefan Litster has an excellent video showing off the various film types and formats. Stefan starts the video off by highlighting the size difference between 35mm, 120mm, and 4 x 5 films. Sure there are many more film formats in the world, but these are the three major sizes most people will be shooting today.
The video then moves along and to a light table to compare the various types of film including black and white and color negatives. Stefan also pulls out a loop (essentially a magnifying glass inside a shot glass) to put slide film positives and medium format negatives under the microscope.
There plenty of more information to mine from the video as Stefan goes over the specifics of different films in collection. The quick introduction is a little bit on the long side with a 20 minute run time, but it informative piece for film photography novices. Be sure to check it out after the break and also take a peek at our introductory guide on shooting film
Film dying away does not just mark the end of an era or a natural progression into the digital world. More importantly it affects people from their livelihoods to their relationships. Hero Av has shot a new short documentary that captures the emotional impact behind the closure of one Orms’ E6 process unit, one of the most well-known and last bastions for slide film development.
Located in Cape Town, it was a processing plant that many South African photographers visited to develop their film. Shooting slide film itself is a difficult challenge and so its closure earlier was heartbreaking for photographers whose entire livelihood revolves around shooting on the analog format.
“It was really like getting cold water over myself, because this was actually my last place to process,” landscape photographer Koos Van Der Lende said. “I really have to just sit down and really rethink my life as a photographer on film.”
Andre Eksteen, an Orms technician at the E6 processing unit also added, “There was a lot of trust that had to be put between the lab and the photographer, as such, and that is a moment that we are saying goodbye to. Nevermind just the process itself.”
The short six-minute documentary is a tiny glimpse at the human story behind the end of slide film processing. It’s a story that will pull at your heartstrings, so be sure to check it out after the jump.
Via Picture Correct
This year’s Photokina is full of all sorts of surprises as Leica ditches digital and decides to launch a new film camera. Meet the Leica M-A (Type 127)–it’s the German camera company’s return to photography in its purest form. The camera does not have a monitor for you to check your exposure nor exposure metering to mess with your shot. It does not even run on batteries.
Instead the Leica M-A is simply a hand-built, metal camera body that leaves everything up to the users. Shooters will have to figure out the exposure on their own without a built in light meter. It’s beyond old school as a return to photography in its original form, where it’s up to the user to decide their focal length, aperture, shutter speed, and finally capture that decisive moment. Back then, photographers used the Sunny 16 rule to get exposures correct.
Due to the camera taking film, the mechanical camera is “significantly thinner” than many of its digital rivals. The Leica M-A will accept other Leica M-bayonet lenses. Meanwhile, users can pull the frame selector lever to change the framing lines to accommodate their 28mm and 90 mm, 35 and 135 mm, 50 and 75 mm lenses.
The Leica M-A will be available in chrome-accented or all black finish later this October. Leica announced the camera would cost £3100 (about $5,021) from its Leica Store Mayfair, Leica Store Burlington, and other authorized Leica dealers. Check past the jump for more images and specs.
Today nearly every person in the world has a camera whether it be a cellphone camera, point-and-shoot, mirrorless camera, DSLRs, Go Pros, aerial drones—you get the idea. While photography is well and alive now, that wasn’t always the case. The Smithsonian Magazine has put together an excellent article looking back over a century detailing the photography first went mainstream.
The thing about early cameras is they used chemically treated plates and paper that took ages to capture an exposure and required subjects to stay still for a half-minute or more. It’s the reason why early portraitures looked so stoic and serious. But enter 1888 and George Eastman introduced the first compact, film-based Kodak camera. The new camera was not only much smaller measuring 2.5-inches in diameter, it was also affordable at $25 and held a roll of film for 100 exposures.
The much more accessible camera allowed many more people to carry cameras outdoors and the public was entranced by the ability to capture the world. Even if they were the most mundane of everyday events, new Kodak photographers would take pictures of bicycles, pets, or themselves. Taking snapshots became a fad and with the introduction of the $1 Brownie camera in 1900 a third of American households owned a camera of some sort by 1905.
While it might seem like photography was universally liked, professional photographers were actually against seeing their art becoming popularized by amateurs. Supposedly paid photographers did not appreciate these “Kodak fiends” who became completely engrossed with taking weird and often out of focus shots.
Now photography has become much more mundane and commonplace, but the controversy has spun out to taking advantage of people’s privacy. With the advent of wearable cameras like Google Glass and aerial drones, photographers now face a new wave of criticism accusing them of sneaky forms of voyeurism to creep shots from above.