Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why Film?

One of the questions I get asked the most these days is why I shoot film.  To clarify, I am a hybrid shooter, meaning I shoot a mixture of film and digital throughout your wedding day.  Film and digital both have their advantages and disadvantages.  For example film renders beautifully in harsher midday light, but digital wins in the low light of the evening.  I picked up my first camera (my grandfather’s old Nikon) when I was about 8 years old, years before digital was available, and fell in love with film.  I was given my own camera to bring on a trip to Europe when I was 10 years old and filled my suitcase with film and spent months making intricate albums with the photographs when I returned.  I knew I was hooked right away on photography's ability to capture memories and tell a story.  I switched to shooting digital in high school and even though I printed and developed my own black and white and color film throughout high school and college by graduation I had tucked away my old film cameras.  It wasn’t until 2012 when I picked back up my Nikon F100 and bought a Contax 645 that I fell back in love with film.  Simply put film is magic.  It is an expensive medium to work in, with each click of the shutter equaling about $3, but it is worth every penny.  The photographs I take on film have a painterly quality with a softness, color and luminosity that can only be captured with film.  Film also allows me to slow down and think about every composition before I click the shutter, instead of the rapid fire pace of digital shooting.  Fast shooting is definitely great for the first kiss and first dance and I’m certainly glad to have my 12 frames per second on my digital during that, but while capturing the details of your day and portraits of the I love to take that extra minute to slow down, look at our light and create the perfect moment for you that will be captured forever on film.  There's something very intimate about film and I love that it forces brides to relax and instead of asking to see how they look on the back of my camera stressing about fly away hairs and lip gloss, they focus on the person standing next to them they're vowing to spend the rest of their lives with.  I work with a wonderful lab called Richard Photo Lab that scans my negatives and you will receive your digital and film integrated in one gallery so there won’t be any difference in the final result.

Film has helped me reconnect with what I love most about photography and push myself as an artist.  When I shoot film I feel connected to all the greats who I've studied for so many years like Arbus, Avedon and Blumenfeld to name a few who inspire me daily, and there's an inexplicable alchemy that occurs.  I feel empowered and creative and most of all excited.  Waiting for film scans to come back is both excruciating and exhilarating.  I'm always hoping it turns out as great as I think it will, and it's always better than I could have even imagined.  Always.  There is a quote I adore by Richard Lacayo about photography-  "Of the pleasures cameras give us, the transfiguration of plain reality is the most indispensable.  It implies that the world is more than it seems- which after all, it may well be.  It’s a paradox too lovely to ignore and too profound to solve."  I am reminded of this every time I get my scans back and see a gorgeous moment- a first kiss, a nuzzle of the shoulder, a child's laugh, the curve of a bride's wrist as she reaches for her grooms hand, these small moments are elevated and transformed by film into big moments that when stitched together tell the story of your day.  And at the end of the day that's what it's all about.  That's all I'm doing- telling stories.  I'm just happy to be working in a medium that lets me tell them so beautifully.

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