“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.”
Over the past almost year we have been taking photos on a few film cameras we own including some Holgas, a Diana F+, random Canon film cameras and even some medium format professional grade cameras. More for the need and want to document our time together, for the ease of editing, and just for fun. I honestly cannot tell you how many times we have taken digital photos of personal trips and work and they just sit while we edit away on our amazing couple’s sessions and weddings not paying them much mind at all. It is actually a rather sad situation we find ourselves in, thousands of unculled, unedited images over the years that we have been together, crazy in love, happily married, exploring life and our surroundings together all to sit on an external hard drive to be filed away for safe keeping potentially to never be looked at again. It is pretty much heartbreaking…. Which leads to this.
We started shooting some film and testing film out early in 2012, just trying to simplify life, get back to basics, to slow down, think about the shots we take so when we do pick up a digital camera we are not just firing away without regard to what we are actually capturing. We wait for the moment, we look at the scene in our viewfinders, we take it all in and THEN choose to press the shutter. Shooting film makes you breathe more, it makes you slow down and connect with your subject, it makes you double, triple, quadruple check that what you are shooting is really what you want. Let’s face it you don’t want to go through the work of taking the photos, shipping them out, anxiously waiting for 2 weeks to see what you’ve produced just to get poorly composed and lackluster images back. That is not what it is all about, it’s about getting in tune with that inner artist, that little voice that tells you that the light is just right, and that pulls you to a specific location because you just HAVE to shoot there or you might die (not literally of course) and it makes you trust those instincts that you have instead of just dare I say it… spraying and praying. Overshooting a subject because you just aren’t sure, did you get that shot?…Do I have to take 3… 5…1o more photos of that exact same pose, looking that exact same way. Then I have to go home and cull that… ugh what a pain! To be honest culling is the part of the job I never, ever look forward to… it’s fun to see the images but when you shoot like I previously described it tends to be a little tedious and gets old fast. In comes film.
You cannot see your images, obviously. You cannot chimp your images, you just have to go with it. You do not have a choice. This makes you learn your equipment better, and makes you tune into what you already know, but second guess with digital. I know we are not alone in this struggle, we’ve talked to many photographers who go through the same things. Over shoot, over editing, over, over, over…. When do we just say we are done?!? There are so many things that as an artist work against us, comparing ourselves to others, wanting to shoot a way that honestly we never will, wanting to get our images published here, there, everywhere. I feel that there is a point where you start to loose sight of why you are really doing this, seriously, why are you doing this? I can tell you why I got into it, I wanted a hobby, something that set my artist and creative spirit free. Something that allowed me to create pieces of artwork just for myself, that made no one else except for me happy. Somewhere along the way of starting as a hobby, going full time, and starting to shoot weddings I lost sight of why I started this whole journey and just how special of a journey it is.
We love our couples, from the bottom of our hearts we adore them all, but somewhere along the way we lost sight of creating art for them to cherish and started to fall into a rut. Always pushing ourselves to be better, and doing better each wedding we shoot but loosing sight of the artistry that we use to have, what brought us to this point to begin with. Film for me, personally, has brought the artistry back into photography for me. I’ve always loved the look, the feel, the tones, everything about it. I’ve tried shooting it a few times and last year after doing two sessions with it I said we would never bring it into our professional photography world because it just didn’t “work” for us. Here we are almost a year later, and guess what… it’s starting to work for us. It makes our hearts beat faster, our stomachs get into knots as the zip file downloads holding all of the images because we are just that excited about our photography. If feels like being a child again, Christmas Eve is here and you just cannot wait the next few hours for Christmas, when you can rip into your gifts. This is what shooting film is becoming for us. Something that further ignites a passion that has and will always be in our hearts for photography but may have been a little dimmer then it has been in the past.
All photographers go through the same struggles, and it is kind of refreshing to know that some of the photographers who I admire have struggled with the same issues I’m currently going through. The biggest one at this moment… editing style. I love so many editing styles, but when trying to achieve that look or feel, I feel as though I fall flat. Let’s face it nothing is more frustrating then trying so hard to get something just right just to feel like you need to start all over again the next day when you see it because something is missing. Every day, every shoot, every wedding is an editing struggle until it clicks, but that click might take hours… days… and it is the most maddening process some days. I can honestly say that when I’ve gotten film back I have never once said man, I want to re-edit this… why? Because it comes out beautiful every time (as long as I know what I am doing behind the lens). I’m always pleased, over joyed and excited to see my work finally take form in a way that digital just hasn’t done for me yet.
Now this is in no means a blog post to announce that we are switching to film, or that we are the new film photographers on the block. We still are going to use primarily our digital cameras because this film journey is only just now beginning. We have a very very long road ahead of us, but connecting with photography, getting the passion back into our art, and creating images that make us smile and get giddy… now that is what it is all about. That is one of the many reasons I started doing photography, and it’s an old friend that I have been missing. So below are some film images that we have shot over the almost past year from couples sessions, trips, weddings and just practicing. They go in chronological order so you can see the progression. We hope that sharing this side of our business, artistry and personal selves will help other artists to see that they are not alone in their struggles. We all go through it, it’s all apart of making art. You just have to find out what makes that passion grow stronger for you and latch on no matter how scary it is… it will be the most rewarding thing you do for yourself. <3