A couple of months ago I received an email from photographer Freda Banks saying she needed causal, natural portraits for her website that show she is artistic in a friendly and approachable manner.
I had never met Freda, I had only seen her beautiful work online, so when she answered the door looking like this…I was immediately very excited and extremely intimidated.
Very excited… because she wanted me to photograph with film, which is my most favorite way to photograph.
Extremely intimidated… because I always assume every photographer is more talented and knowledgeable than I am. So photographing other photographers means having to wrestle my brain into silent submission, at least enough so I can do the job I was hired to do.
Also extremely intimidated… because Freda is stunningly beautiful with an incredible sense of style, which meant I felt this overwhelming pressure to take the most amazing photos of my life, in order to live up to this fun opportunity to play with film and with beauty.
But because Freda really is artistic in a friendly and approachable manner, it didn’t take us long to feel comfortable with each other, allowing me to silence my overactive brain and focus instead on finding good light. We talked and played and talked and played, and before I knew it, three hours had passed, which is a long time to make one person model, so I reluctantly put away my cameras and we said good-bye.
(All of the above photos were taken with medium format film.)
While I do love film, it was a long painful wait for the film scans to return… luckily I had a few digital files to tide me over until the film scans finally returned.
Digital photography is a wonderful tool and I am so grateful to have it, but when given the opportunity to shoot with film… it is really hard for me to put down the film cameras and pick up the digital ones again.
I just love the sensory experience of photographing with film cameras. I love the sound of the shutter and the crisp, yet ethereal way the world looks through film lenses.
But film is slow, it is expensive and it can be unpredictable. You don’t always know what the results will be like and you have to wait a long time to find out… which for me translates to: exciting and risky (like the hard-to-get, tall cute guy, with big glasses and mismatched socks, who I married.)
Digital is fast, it is inexpensive (if you don’t factor in your editing time and you don’t upgrade your equipment every 9 months) and you know immediately if you got the photo or not… which for me translates to: boring and predictable.
But the advantage of shooting both digital and film is that I get to show a direct comparison between the two and you can decide for yourself which you prefer.
Below are examples of similar photos taken in both digital and film, with no retouching and very minimal color alterations on the digital files…
I admit, it’s a really close call… but film still wins my heart. What do you think?