I recently talked to a young man who I discovered was very
interested in photography (he did not know anything about
my own 'Special Effect' photography), and having told me
that it was his main hobby, I was intrigued, and very
surprised, when he explained that he far preferred to use film
rather than digital imaging. Even though it is so difficult
and expensive to buy film these days. I wrongly presumed he
was referring to Black and White photography, but soon
realised he was buying colour films.
All new cameras,
even mobile phones, are digital. Also, there are only a few
small laboratories that will process colour film, and home
processing although possible, is not easy. Yet he told me
there are groups of photographers, like him, preferring to use
film and their numbers are growing.
I have looked on
the Internet and there are indeed lots of discussions on the
advantages, or disadvantages, of using film in comparison with
The majority claim that in using film, because
of the need to be far more selective (taking far less
photographs due to the high costs), has trained them to
become far better photographers.
Another claim was that
good digital cameras are expensive and need to be replaced
every four, or five years, as they are upgraded so frequently.
Yet buying a second-hand film camera will be cheaper, last a
lifetime and will hold its value, even though film cameras are
far bulkier and heavier.
Lastly, old transparencies and
negatives can, and will always be, easily viewed, but who
knows, as digital technology changes so quickly, if it will be
possible to view digital images in the future.
amazed to learn this, because of the incredible possibilities
of digital photography, that now exist. The cameras not only
make it easier to control the image and exposure, in so many
ways, that were much more complicated before with film. There
is the advantage of seeing the digital result immediately. But
even after having taken the picture, with the aid of software,
the options available now to manipulate digital photographs
are just fantastic!
This made me reflect on why I had
favoured using colour reversal film (for my own creative
transparencies) rather than negative film in
the 1960's, before anyone had computers. I enjoyed most
viewing the large projected image, far more than a print, even
though there was no option to alter the picture once taken,
yet I was using it for my own â€˜special effectsâ€™. But
having to wait at least a week, to see the transparencies, was
I preferred transparencies to negatives
because I found it extremely hard to master colour printing,
as an amateur, so I always relied on professional processing
laboratories to make my prints.
My 'Special Effects'
pictures were imaginative (nothing like the usual
photographs) and I soon found that it was
nearly impossible, when they made prints from my negatives,
for them to know how to get the colour balance that I really
wanted. The advantage of transparencies was that I could
simply instruct them to match the colour balance of the
transparency that they could see.
My favourite film was
the Kodak 'Kodachrome 25' that sadly is no longer available.
Transparencies were so much more vibrant than any of the
prints and so I concentrated on what I could do with
Kodachrome. By always using this film I soon got to know, how
best to control it, even with my own 'Special Effects'.
'Madam Butterfly' created
as a Kodachrome transparency
These days I am excited by the digital option, rather than
film. However, using my own invented 'Painting with light'
technique that involves photographing projected images, I can
create some effects that would be exceedingly difficult to
achieve with digital software.
My own views have always
been that the most important aspect of photography is the
resulting picture, the composition, the quality and the choice
of subject. Not the questions of the technique, or make of
camera, lens used, or film etc. It is only the resulting
picture that really matters; however, it was created!
Sea Shell created with
After so many years using film, I am now personally
totally sold on the digital system, but should any readers be
interested in seeing more of my special effects, achieved with
my own'Painting with Light' technique, please do have a
look at my website