Film Friday Guest Post from Photographer Jan Scholz

I started photography after moving to Maastricht in the Netherlands, as a spare time activity, taking pictures around town with a digital SLR. Soon afterwards I turned towards portraits. From then on photography became almost an obsession, consuming most of my spare time.
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The main reason why photography is so fascinating to me, is that I can create my own world and use it as a stage for emotions, stories and scenes, that matter to me, that I find beautiful. I often do not have a defined concept for a shoot and just let myself be driven by what I find, the location, the light, the model.
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I switched to film after I already had a very good grasp on digital cameras and photoshop. The reasons are multifold, and include: I love the look of film right from the scanner. I always loved black and white photography, but when I was shooting digitally I was never happy with the conversion and the resulting tones, regardless of the tools used. My first scan of a simple black and white negative was already a revelation. Film is like a beautiful canvas the image is painted upon.

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Another reason are the beauty of old film cameras. They are a joy to use, their simplicity, their vintage feel, the big, bright view finders to look through, the sound of the shutters, the feel of the mechanics when forwarding the film. All these factors are not measurable in megapixels, dynamic range or frames per second, but they inspire me and contribute to the joy I have when photographing. Maybe I am stretching it a bit, but I think they also have a positive impact on most people I photograph. Especially using a large format camera tends to fascinate people, they feel like being part of something special.

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The limitations of each camera, each format is forcing me to approach photography in a different way. I take different pictures with a fast and mobile 35mm SLR than with a slow and stationary Large Format Camera. Going out with such a tripod based camera and knowing that I have just 10 or maybe 20 pictures to take, will make me photograph completely differently than with a 8GB card in the DSLR. It turned the way I photograph upside down. I look a lot more carefully, re-consider every composition and pose again and again before clicking (or not clicking) the shutter. This taught me a lot and I believe I learned most I know about photography and composition after switching to film.

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For most formats and applications, it’s probably true that digital has outrun film in terms of resolution, but in terms of “look” and tonality I am yet to be convinced. It’s a very personal opinion and decision. There are good reasons for digital and film, and everybody has the liberty to use whatever one likes and finds convincing. You can throw a lot of reasons pro-digital at me, it will not change how I feel about using film, for a multitude of reasons.

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My choice of film has been a little journey. I started out by buying and trying all sorts of films and after some time settled for a small selection suited for the situations I mainly photograph in. I believe my “signature film” is KODAK PROFESSIONAL Tri-X Film, developed in HC110. It offers smooth tones, with the right amount of “punch” in the contrast.
- Jan Scholz

8 thoughts on “Film Friday Guest Post from Photographer Jan Scholz

  1. Pingback: Learning new things . Developing film at home » Aisa Ara├║jo Photography

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