I think since I started on my photographic journey seven years ago, I've dabbled in just about every little genre of photography. Probably not all, mind you, but I've tried my hand at all of the obvious subject matter that every new photographer tries.
It's taken these years (while to be fair, probably still very early years at what I'm hoping is a lifelong journey) just to even begin to hone in on what really moves me and drives me about photography. Every photographer I know wants to get better and wants to find their voice in their art. From my experience it is a journey. I've got a boat-load myself of fair-at-best images, some pretty good ones that I am proud to share, and some no matter how imperfect, I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Over the past year, I've become completely drawn to a certain look. I spend a lot of nights putsing on Pinterest looking at those gagillions of images out there. I started to discover that I was liking a very specific look over and over again. I also started wondering why none of my images looked like this and maybe this is why I've been frustrated with how a lot of my work looks. Maybe my tastes have simply evolved, but I've been craving my work to look more like the work of others that I'm drawn to. I like the tones of these images, their slightly imperfect nature, their almost organic look. I soon realized that the work I was drawn to was mostly made up of images shot on film.
I had an epiphany! Film! You see, when I started getting seriously into photography, it was already the digital era. People were already shooting 10 mega pixel digital SLRs with CF and SD cards and computers, and Photoshop, and monitor calibrators, and Wacom tablets. I didn't start with film. It's like I missed a whole world of experience and by the time I jumped in the pool, the waters were very different from how many experienced photographers began. This post isn't about film vs digital at all. Digital is great. I learned a lot, and fast. I can see my results immediately and adjust quicker. I'm addicted to the immediacy that digital provides me. I love coming home from a shoot and off loading my images from my memory card.
Over time, however, I've become increasingly frustrated with a very specific thing. It doesn't matter how quickly I can offload, and see those images (you know, those hundreds from one shoot), it still takes me hours in front of a computer screen to cull, and edit those images. I've not only had to learn the art of manipulating my camera to create the look I want, but also had learn another whole batch of skills to manage those images and edit them. Like many, I've spent money of presets and actions only later to hate them for never looking the way I wanted or have spent hours tweaking them to my liking. Eventually though, I've learned to create my own for processes I repeat over and over. After all this learning and experience, one thing is still nagging at me. I still don't fully love the look of my digital work. I'm spending all of this time trying to create a certain something and I'm not getting there.
So, this epiphany has me excited again about photography. With a toddler in the house, I no longer have as much time to go out and make images, let alone spend the endless hours editing them. I got into photography because I enjoyed being behind a camera, not behind a computer. I keep having this nagging feeling that I can do better.
I guess this is where my film journey comes in. I've purchased a film camera, and 10 rolls of film to get started. Maybe this will be another passing phase in my journey, or maybe it won't. Either way, I'm hoping that it pushes me again. I'm hoping it makes me a better photographer or gives me a new way of looking at my work, or gets me a little bit closer to the style that moves me. If nothing else, I hope it frees me from my computer and lets me spend more time behind a camera and more time with the important people in my life. If I have it my way, those two things will get combined regularly.
So, here's to the new film journey. I hope you will read along and learn with me. I'm sure there will be many mistakes, but I'm hoping there are a few success too. Next post, I will talk about the gear I've chosen to start with and why and some of my first learning tools to get started. Until next time.