First film for 15 years


It was a freezing cold afternoon in December 2016 when I did something I hadn't done for 16 years. I ran a roll of film through a camera. With a Leica R5 and 50mm f/2 lens bought on ebay and a roll of Agfa Precisa colour transparency film I created an unremarkable series of images on the streets of a local town, before heading off to the supermarket for the weekly shop.  

Shortly before that I got it into my head that I wanted a film camera. I still have no clear idea why. I can't say it was because film photography was getting more popular again, because I simply wasn't aware of that. The only idea I have of why I decided to do this was because I was wanting something different and less 'digitally clean'. I like that different films have their own individual characteristics and I even like film grain. It was also true that I never left film, as I have been scanning my huge archive of (mostly) transparencies all the time I have been creating new digital images . 

Now shooting on film is neither cheap or easy, because of the processes involved. Firstly buying the film, exposing it in the camera without being able to see how it turns out, getting it processed and finally, because my aim is to put the images up for sale on my stock websites, getting it scanned. Now in terms of cost this can be quite high. For example every shot I take on my Fuji 6 x 9 Medium Format rangefinder costs me £2:50. Now that's pretty expensive, but it does focus my mind and makes me think seriously about pressing the shutter. And that's not a bad thing. 

Above are the edited scans and how they look on stock photography websites. 

Since that initial day shooting film I've gone on to shoot a lot more. I've also bought myself another 4 film cameras (3 x 35mm and 1 x 6 x 9 MF) all at knock down prices on ebay. It's become a passion despite the expense and the complicated processes involved. However, I've always thought enjoying what I do is the most important thing and if I'm enjoying my photography then I usually produce better images. Returning to, or starting out with film is not for everybody and many I'm sure find it pointless and a bit of a pretentious fetish, but I don't care and neither do the other enthusiasts, both amateur and professional who still use film. Does it make me a better or more 'artistic' photographer? Well probably not but if I think it does that's really all that counts.