Why I love film

Today’s blog post comes from Bellamy Hunt, AKA Japan Camera Hunter. Be sure to check out the end of the post for a Film Friday giveaway!

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Why do you love film? This is a question I get asked a lot. Maybe it is because of what I do, but people always seem to want to hear a different answer. But in reality, there is no special answer other than the one that I always have felt. Let me try and explain it to you.

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I can vividly remember my first forays into photography, when I was a very small boy and I had a Kodak Instamatic camera which my mother gave me. I didn’t really have the first idea of what I was doing, but I enjoyed doing it, taking pictures.

As I got older my enjoyment of photography grew. I studied the process at college, I worked professionally in a studio using film, I did events and tons of personal projects using film. Which is what we all did, as there was no other way.

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When digital came on to the scene I thought it was a godsend. I could spend more time taking pictures, and I could edit the ones I didn’t like. But all was not good in happy valley. Whilst I enjoyed the convenience and the speed of using a digital camera, I found the images lacking something…they were too clinical. I also found myself becoming lazy, slipping. I would spray and pray, and continuously chimp to check images. This was not what I had trained to do, I should have been trusting my skills.

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So, I made the decision to switch back to film. It wasn’t a hard decision. I was working for a camera supply company so I was no longer in need of pro digital cameras, as I could rent them if needed. I sold my digital cameras for a pittance compared to what I had paid for them less than 2 years previously. And for that pittance I was able to buy myself a film camera that I had dreamed of owning as a teenager.

For me, film gives me the opportunity to present the world as I see it, with all of the flaws and the mistakes. The world is not a perfect place and I don’t take perfect pictures. I don’t want my images to be razor sharp every single time. With digital I strived for consistency, with film I revel in the inconsistency. Film has also pushed me back into being creative again. I am more thoughtful and aware of how and why I shoot. I mentally prepare projects and compositions in my head, as I don’t want to waste film or opportunities.

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Added to that I am a borderline luddite, with a dash of chemistry geek and a full dose of tactile process nerd. So film photography for me is the logical conclusion of my personality. I love the idea of allowing just the right amount of light to react with chemicals on a strip of plastic to create an image that is indelible. A single frame, frozen in time that will probably be around long after I am gone. Tell that to my hard drives (two of which I have lost in the last two years alone), I still have the negatives from that Kodak Instamatic.

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I mentioned in previous articles too that shooting with film gives me time. Everything in the modern world is so frenetic, it seems to come at you from all directions, a bombardment of information. Running JCH takes up a huge amount of my time (not that I am complaining, I love it). But when I go out and shoot I can disconnect myself from everything for the briefest period and take the time to calm down and enjoy the little things. Watching people, human comedy and the barely contained chaos that is a big city. I have no rush to see my images, no sense of urgency for a result. I don’t need to feel validation by running home and uploading 150 images to Flickr or whatever. This gives me a sense of balance. Getting my negatives back and checking them is something I can do on a quiet evening with a nice cup of tea on standby.

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But it is not just that. It is the look. Sure you can get filters and plugins now so that you can make your digital images look like a certain emulsion, but it is just not the same as the real thing. Because the real thing comes out that way, without having to change anything. And this is not about the megapixels or resolution or whatever. This is about the imperfect nature that is film. The slight uncertainty and the unique minute imperfections that make it such a pleasure to use.

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So why do I love film? Because film is like love itself. It is imperfect, irrational, sometimes frustrating and almost impossible to rationalize, but when it works it feels fantastic and keeps me coming back for more.

My favourite Kodak film? There is a constant, which has been a film I have come back to over and over again, that one is Tri-X. It is so perfectly balanced and easy to use, you just cannot fail with a roll of tri-x. I hope it lives forever.

JCH

http://www.japancamerahunter.com

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Film Friday Giveaway!

To make Film Friday even more fun, JCH has generously offered a selection of his film cases for a giveaway. These cases were designed by JCH after months of development and testing. They are made from a durable and tough plastic that will keep your film safe from the elements including light.

There will be two prize packages… each with

– One black and one white 135 film case

– One black and one white 120 film case

– A selection of Kodak film

To enter just leave a comment on this blog post explaining why you shoot film. We will randomly choose two winners by 2pm EST on Monday, March 17. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments form so we can contact you if you win. It won’t be seen by others. Good luck!

Film Friday: Film Box: A Lab for Photographers by Photographers

By: Brittany Price

 What defines a successful photographer? Raw talent, experience and an eye for beauty are among the obvious answers, as these skills are essential in the photographic arts. Ryan Bernal and Austin Gros, two Nashville photographers, entrepreneurs and the founders of Film Box, are of the opinion that it takes more than just skill and experience to make it in the photo industry. It takes a family.

The  Film Box Team - shot using Kodak Professional Portra 800 Film

The Film Box Team – shot using Kodak Professional Portra 800 Film

Film Box, a Nashville-based film lab, welcomes photographers and visitors in as part of that family. Situated within a charming, historic blue and white home, this film studio embodies something completely other than your run-of-the-mill, one-hour photo lab. At Film Box, there exists a striking balance between professionalism and comfort. This team provides the highest caliber of photo film processing, while inviting photographers to sit down, have a cup of coffee and engage with a warm community of fellow creatives. The Film Box experience feels like coming home.

Film Box from Film Box on Vimeo.

Image by Austin Grosl© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 400 Film

Image by Austin Gros© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 400 Film

The vision for Film Box and an innovative, photographic community came from Bernal and Gros’ recognition that they were a part of an artistic circle with no place to go. Bernal explains, “We dreamed up the idea of a place, in Nashville, that brings photographers to one spot. There are a lot of photographers, but there’s no place that brings them together. We want to have this cornerstone of our community where, if you’re a photographer, you know about Film Box and you’re part of something, of what we’re doing.” This studio was created to support and expand the talents of photographers, to act as a backbone and hub for an artistic community.

Image by Ryan Bernal© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 400 Film

Image by Ryan Bernal© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 400 Film

Film Box not only develops film, but photographers as well. This begins with their comprehensive ‘Custom Style Profile.’ When a new client walks into Film Box, he or she is asked to provide extensive information about who they are as a photographer: from style and personal taste, to cameras and stocks of film, down to metering and countless other small details. This ‘Custom Style Profile’ enables the Film Box team to begin an ongoing conversation with each individual photographer about his or her body of work, abilities and aspirations. It creates a ‘snapshot’ of the photographer’s professional and personal goals, allowing the knowledgeable Film Box staff to provide feedback and assist the photographer in working towards their dreams.

Image by Austin Grosl© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 400 Film

Image by Austin Gros© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 400 Film

When a photographer hands a roll of film to the staff at Film Box, those photos are placed in the care of some of Nashville’s most talented, exceptional film specialists. As Bernal and Gros dreamt up Film Box, they spent countless months preparing, processing film, perfecting their abilities and knack for photo developing. Both of the Film Box founders understand film photography because both shoot almost exclusively with film. Bernal has shot and developed film since he was a teenager, rambling about Phoenix with a camera. Gros got a taste of film while shooting weddings and never looked back. Bernal, Gros and their staff are uniquely qualified to provide exactly the type of professional assistance and mentorship that was, prior to Film Box, far too difficult to come by in the photographic community.

Image by Ryan Bernal© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 400 Film

Image by Ryan Bernal© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 400 Film

Though Bernal and Gros currently work with a large number of well-established professional photographers, their dream is two-fold: to not only cultivate a thriving photographic community amongst existing photographers, but to also educate and inspire new photographers and the creative community at large to keep the medium of film alive. The Film Box team cannot help but get excited about those who want to make the transition to film. Gros was one of those photographers, as he recounts, “When I first started shooting weddings, I was shooting digital. Film seemed like this big, scary thing. My advice to people who are interested is to just try it. You’ll be surprised how quickly you will be able to make the jump.”

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The Film Box staff believes that film is here to stay. Bernal insists, “People are turning back to film. Not only does opinion support that it often looks better, but photographers are better off training themselves to be film photographers because it trains us to be better.” He believes that all artists are looking to grow and improve. He sees film photography as that next step. Photo printing, educational ‘photo walks’, workshops, maybe even a community darkroom are in the works for Film Lab. This team will do anything to make sure film sticks around.

Image by Ryan Bernal© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 160 Film

Image by Ryan Bernal© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 160 Film

Like any good support system, the Film Box team is there to assist and guide those new to the world of film. They even recommend the essentials, to help new photographers move in the right direction. Both Bernal and Gros are fond of KODAK’s PORTRA 400 film. Gros explains, “The exposure latitude of PORTRA 400 is better than anything else that’s out there right now. For someone who hasn’t shot film before, it gives them the ability to miss a little and still get great results.” He recommends pairing this with the cheapest camera body that works with a photographer’s preexisting digital lens, something along the lines of a Canon EOS 3 or Nikon F100.

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Image by Austin Grosl© shot using Kodak Professional Portra 400 Film

Film Box opened its door to the public in February of 2013 and within a period of a few, short months, word spread across the country about this innovative new venture. Bernal and Gros have created a business “by photographers, for photographers” and the artistic community has leapt to its feet in support. Bernal recognizes that people want to join the film box community because it provides exactly that: a community, “We don’t just process and scan people’s film, we become a part of their team, their photography family, I suppose. They can’t do it without us, and we can’t do it without them.” After all, it takes a family to raise a photographer.

– Brittany Price

Lightbox photography in the NYC subway: Current exhibit at Bowling Green Station

Today’s Film Friday post comes from  Lester Burg – Senior Manager, MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design

Lester Burg headshot

Lester Burg

 

Lightbox photography in the NYC subway: Current exhibit at Bowling Green Station

Sponsored by Kodak Alaris

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) moves 8.5 million people each day through its subways, buses and commuter rail systems.  Making art a part of the experience is important – it adds a humanizing element, provides an enhancement that is accessible to all, improves the visual environment and sets a tone that the system is cared for and the customers are considered.  Since travel involves moving people efficiently through various spaces, the more we can do to improve that experience, the better the spaces are treated and enjoyed.   Arts for Transit commissions permanent art in stations – and oversees poster, music and poetry programs as well, with the common goal of improving and enhancing the experience of the transit system. Photography is also offered within lightbox displays in stations where there was the space for a series of light box displays and which were rehabilitated in the past ten years.  The light boxes are in places with heavy foot traffic.

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MTA Arts for Transit curates the Lightbox Project, which showcases photography in large-scale in four key locations – Bowling Green, Bryant Park 42nd Street, Grand Central and Atlantic-Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  We try to find photographers whose work will hold the viewer’s interest over repeated viewings, and which has something to say about the neighborhood, the area or the people who use the station.  The program is made possible through the support of sponsors.  For this exhibit, the displays are printed on Kodak Professional Endura Transparency Display material with a local partner, the Prestone Media Group. We are unable to accept unsolicited photography proposals for the Lightbox Project.

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At Bowling Green, more than 25,000 people use the station on a daily basis, and many are international visitors heading to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty.  Other riders are office workers in Lower Manhattan.  At this location, we try to show a part of New York not often seen, or a way of expressing the City and travel through a photographer’s particular point of view.  People are fascinated by tall buildings and the dramatic way that Navid Baraty has shot the images is captivating.  The series features aerial views from atop skyscrapers in Manhattan, offering the viewer a look that is straight down.

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People will stop in their tracks and take a closer look – there is a lot of detail in these photos and the angle of looking downward takes a second to come into sharp focus.  Visitors spend more time looking at the images and people waiting for a train will study the art or photographs.  We always hear from people that they have noticed the photographs in the station and when it is your regular station the photos or artworks become part of the daily landscape.  Ideally, one notices a new detail every day.

– Lester Burg – Senior Manager , MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design

Film Friday: Talking with Jonathan Canlas

Cruise through Jonathan Canlas’ instagram account, and its clear – his two greatest passions are his adorable family and film photography. Canlas, isn’t just an extremely talented photographer, but he’s also the founder of Film Is Not Dead. He calls Hawaii home but travels the globe conducting his wildly popular FIND Workshops. He’ll head to the UK in February and team with the UK Film Lab to put on one of his two-day workshops. These workshops, in Canlas’ words, are part of a “community, family, a belief, a journey, centered around FIND-ing your unique voice through film photography.” If you’re lucky enough to be in Brighton this February, get your spot http://filmisnotdead.com/#workshopsektar100     We asked Jonathan to share some of the top 5 questions he receives in each workshop. Perhaps some of you have had these questions.

KodakPortra400We’re also lucky enough to have some of Jonathan’s work as well. For more of his work, visit ALOHA.KodakPortra160VC

1. Will shooting film make me a better photographer?

The answer to this is yes and no.

I mean, putting film in your hands is not going to make you see the world differently or make you magically better at your craft.  Meaning if you don’t see light, understand composition, or have a strong voice, film is not going to just give that skill to you.  HOWEVER, when film is put in your hands it forces you to slow down and shoot very differently than if you were shooting digitally.  With a digital camera that has cards that have the capacity to hold thousands upon thousands of images it is easy to just click away, taking multiple captures of one thing.  With no real limitation with digital in how many photos you can take, the discipline to take one and move on is just not needed.  It is really easy to get loose about what you are shooting with that mentality.  However, on film, every time you click it costs money and a certain discipline is usually adapted when shooting film.  With more intention combined with a slower pace, it will literally make you analyze everything that is going in your frame. And this I think can make you a better photographer in the long run.  Where the opposite can make you a sloppy photographer.  It makes you a lot more intentional that is for sure.

Another way it will make you a better photographer is it will force you to learn your exposures.  Obviously, there is no chimping with film.  And to get the perfect negative that requires no time behind a computer requires the perfect exposure.  And if you stick with one ISO for even one full day, you’ll really get to learn really quickly the exposures in different lighting situations.

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2. What limitations does film have?

Some, but not many.  I still think digital is king in low light situations in terms of shooting in color.  Even if I can underexpose KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 up to 3 stops, it has to be the right light and that light is not always available nor is your subject going to always just be hanging out in that light.  But on the b/w side of things, KODAK PROFESSIONAL TRI-X is incredible.  I’ve seen it pushed to 6400 iso and shot in the darkest of dank receptions and have amazing amazing results.  Other than the low light limitation in terms of color, its abilities outweigh the limitations.  The dynamic range is incredible along with color and most importantly, how images look straight out of camera when scanned by a good lab like the lab I use theFINDlab (http://thefindlab.com).

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3. How can I shoot film and not have it break the bank as digital costs me nothing?

I think the myth needs to be busted that shooting digitally does not “cost” you anything.  First, there is the initial cost of your DSLR, which as time has shown, is usually upgraded every year and some change.  Combine that with the depreciation of your “old” DSLR and you’ve got quite some costs accumulating.  Then there is the “cost” of the time of editing your images.  I don’t know many (any for that matter) that deliver clients images straight out of their camera.  Some time is needed to edit those images and as they say, time is money.  I honestly think that shooting film and shooting digitally the costs are the same.  Either I can shoot film and not have to sit behind a computer or I can “save money” and shoot digitally and then be stuck behind a computer.  Also, touching on the answer of question number 1, when you shoot film, you are not burning through thousands of exposures.  Less editing time and more keepers equals a lot of “money” saved.  Remember, time is money, no matter how you try to rationalize it.

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4. What is the best film stock to use in multiple lighting situations?

I have found KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 to be the best film for this.  I can effectively have an ISO of 50-3200, without having to change how I develop the roll.  That means I can overexpose up to 3 stops (I’ve even done up to 4 before) and under-expose up to 3 stops all on the same roll without having to pull/push the roll.  The Vision 3 technology in the new PORTRA 400 is absolutely incredible.  Now mind you, you can’t just underexpose PORTRA 400 by 3 stops and think it will look amazing.  You have to find the right light to be able to do this.  Meaning, when you shoot underexposed like this, you need to make sure that whatever you are shooting is lit or has some kind of luminosity to it.  You can’t shoot into a cave with no light and expect it to look ok.  However, if you have some dimly LIT subjects, try underexposing PORTRA 400 and be amazed by the results.

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5. I know you say FILM IS NOT DEAD but is it close?

No, not at all.  A good friend of mine, Mark Sperry, said something in regards to this recently.  Basically it has never been better for film shooters than it is today.  Even with all of our limitations.  We are missing a TON of different film stocks, camera makers, and labs that used to be around say 10-15 years ago are long gone.  But the ones we do have right now are the best of the best.  We have only a handful of film stocks to choose from but the abilities of said film (the new Kodak Portra line) stocks are amazing.  We only have a couple companies still making film cameras, but we have a HUGE surplus of cameras that people are no longer using and can be snatched up for pennies on the dollar.  And the labs that are open and thriving today (theFINDlab) are labs that are mostly run by film shooters and know how to scan color neg film.  It is a great time to be a film shooter that is for sure.  Arguably the best time.

FilmsNotDead Winner: Siim Vahur

The recent FilmsNotDead competition offered a little step back in time for film and Kodak film lovers. The challenge (or excitement) was to enter with images that were shot on a Kodak Box Brownie.

Siim Vahur from Estonia won the competiton by sharing the images below which were shot with his Kodak Box Brownie 2.   We, from Kodak Alaris caught up with Siim from Estonia to ask some questions about shooting film and what he enjoys the most.

We hope that you enjoy his thoughts and especially his hints and tips on shooting film.

Thanks
Lars.

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KA: Siim, you’re clearly a lover of film photography. Do you have a favourite camera that you regularly use?

S: As a mad collector – I’ve got plenty of them. Right now from my collection of 35mm cameras I like to use my Voigtländer Super Wide-Heliar 4.5/15mm with my 78 year old Leica III, a Canon Canonet QL17 G-III (as it’s the most handful light-weight fast lens rangefinder with full manual option), Horizont,  Fujica Drive (neat little half-frame)

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And from my collection of 120 it’s some simple boxes like my competition winning Brownie No.2, my Daci, a Seagull 4B (I really like the triplet lenses as well as square format) and my Arax 60 MLU (+Zeiss lenses).

My collection habit has even made me create cameras of my own. I have a self-made anamorphic pinhole camera http://www.siimvahur.com/anamorfoos/index.html and a

self-made half-frame fisheye http://www.siimvahur.com/commuud/fisheye/

I’m always ready and willing to try things that are new, the bond between me and film photography is strong and not something I see changing in the near future.  Today’s world is too fast for film, my everyday work is fully digital, I’m a fan of new technologies, but I enjoy shooting film. Not for a fun. Just. For a life.

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KA: So you mentioned you’re a collector, but are you an amateur or professional photographer?

S: Professional. I guess. For almost 10 years I have been full time theater photographer (my main job is at Tallinna City Theater, VAT teater ) and I’ve been working part time as a food photographer for magazines and cook books. When not shooting for  home/creative still life (i.e food photography) or work/portrait etc (i.e theater) I do like street photography. I don’t do wedding photography.

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KA:  OK, so you’re a professional, did you always want to be a photographer? How did you become a photographer?

S: No, but it just went that way. First I was interested in classic graphic art (you know – all those good old methods – from dry-point to lithography). But one day I found myself studying photography at Art College. And four years later I found myself taking pictures at theater.

In childhood I wanted to become a asphalt worker (at summer) and a street cleaner in night shift (at winter).

KA: How long have you been shooting film for and what do you enjoy most about it?

S: I’ve been shooting film consistently for about 15 years and really it’s just because I love beautiful things, including all those heavy and shiny cameras. I especially love using unique lenses that give me real feelings with real film. Shooting film is about thinking first  – not just point and shoot!

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KA: So tell us, what are your favourite films to shoot and why?

S: Again I like to use a variety of films, I shoot colour and black and white, so it’s a good mix for me.  The colour films I’ve used most are Kodak Profoto 100 as I find it the best value for money and I also use Fuji Velvia 50 as its deep blue, dark green tonality fits 100% into our the ’pessimistic’ Estonia climate. However with these being expired films, I am looking at experimenting further with Kodak’s Portra and Ektar films.

When it comes to black and white I’m a fan of hi-iso and push-process black and white, so Kodak TRI-X, Ilford Delta 3200 / Surveillance P3/P4, Agfa Traffic are my best friends.

I also like to shoot the now expired Kodak Vericolor III (when I can find it) as it offers neat tonality.

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KA: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to use film?

S:  As I said to the Films Not Dead team, don’t go the Lomo way (sorry, guy’s), look around, get a real camera (from a box brownie to a modern ultra wide Heliar equipped and a 30′s Leica or just a simple mechanical SLR with some fix lenses), find some neat films with real character and play and try and you can feel the difference between your smartphone and real thing. For camera colletors like me, it’s great to be able to use my neat and beautifil old gear.

KA: Finally can you offer the readers of this blog five tips on shooting film?

S:

1. Composition. See frames in your head. Think!

2. Light. See light around you. Use it, i.e move yourself!

(One light, one place, different angle of views and you can make really different results – awful ones and vice versa)

3. Light. Measure it! Know your film’s peculiarity.

4. DOF. Use it! Most wonderful thing in photography.

5. Don’t rush, just be ready.

KA: Tell us a little about Siim the person:

S: I’m just a 32 year old guy with wife and daughter. I have done photos for many cook books, books, theaters, posters, magazines, websites … so photography is my life.

I love my country. And I love this kind of bad weather.

My life – my pictures: www.siimvahur.com

My life – my wife – my pictures, all of them: www.marudesign.eu

My collection of cameras – http://www.flickr.com/photos/siimvahur/sets

Film Friday: “Long Live Film” documentary and Indie Film Lab

Last spring, five guys – Luke, Nick, Josh, Alan and Matt – loaded up an RV and set out for Las Vegas from Alabama. This group, better known as the team from Indie Film Lab, took video along the way and what started as a short video has become the documentary, “Long Live Film!”  You can watch previews of “Long Live Film!” here and here on YouTube. The film captures not only their journey across the southern United States, but also their passion for film photography. The guys tell us a bit about their experiences here.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for the documentary?

LUKE LINDGREN: Before our road trip to Las Vegas for WPPI we wanted to document our trip. As we planned out our trip the idea evolved from taking pictures to documenting our trip by making a short video. We wanted our focus to be on film photography, and about why we and other photographers still love film.

But after talking to all the awesome film photographers we met in Vegas there was so much depth and heart in what they had to say. It went from a simple youtube video to a documentary.

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JOSH MOATES: It was an organic transition from a road trip to fun blog video to documentary. It definitely was a slow progression and grew very quickly.

Q. What was the most surprising thing you saw while on the road?

MATT ROBBINS: The most surprising thing I saw on the road was the snow for sure. Living in the south my whole life, I had never seen more than a few inches of snow. The first time I saw more than a foot of snow while we were on the road I was literally like a kid in a candy store. I just wanted to run up and play in the snow. I was pretty pumped to see snow that was up to my knees.

ALAN EVANS: The antics of (professional photographers) Ryan Muirhead and Tanja Lippert; How awesome everyone was at Joshua Tree.

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NICK DROLLETTE: The most surprising thing I saw on the road was how big our country was. I have done a good bit of traveling up the east coast and I have also been to Haiti and Cuba but I have never been out west in our own country. I was really shocked to see what was out there. The landscape and the terrain were absolutely beautiful. I have never seen any rock formations like they have out there. It was really nice to get out of Alabama and see a change of scenery.

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Q. What was your favorite location?

JOSH: The Grand Canyon.

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ALAN: The Grand Canyon, however the company I was around during the trip would have made any place awesome.

MATT: While we were driving to the Grand Canyon, we would see cracks in the ground while driving through Texas and Arizona. I was getting excited about seeing a few that were 10-20 feet deep. Then we got to the Grand Canyon and I was just astounded by its size. It was my favorite location on the trip by far.

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NICK: When I was photographing Monument Valley, I started walking down into the valley just shooting away and after about 30 minutes of shooting I realized I was close to a mile away from the RV. It was just an overwhelming experience that I had to capture.

LUKE:  Joshua Tree, CA was awesome because there were about 20+ film loving photographers just hanging out, shooting film, and learning from each other out in the California desert.

Q. What films did you bring and how did you shoot them?

LUKE: KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 @ 200, KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 160 @ 100 or 80, KODAK PROFESSIONAL TRI-X @ anything from 200-1600 and KODAK PROFESSIONAL EKTAR 100 @ 100. Both 35mm and 120/220.

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ALAN: All KODAK PROFESSIONAL Film: PORTRA 160, 400 and 800; EKTAR 100; KODAK PROFESSIONAL BW400CN; TRI-X

JOSH: We had every type of KODAK PROFESSIONAL Film you can imagine. But I shot TRI-X and PORTRA 160 most of the time.

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MATT: The films that I brought on the trip were EKTAR 100, PORTRA 160 and 400, and Tri-X 400. I wanted a bright look, but with the highlights still there so I was shooting all my film at slightly lower speeds than the box speed. I shot a few rolls of EKTAR 100 at 80, PORTRA 160 at 100, and most of the PORTRA 400 at 200.

NICK: I shot mostly with PORTRA 160 and 400. I did shoot a bunch of TRI-X though. I have shot Tri-x a few times before but nothing like I did on the road trip. Tri-x 35mm and 120 are simply stunning. They just give a look that digital can’t give you. I also fell in love with a film that I was not familiar with at all. EKTAR 100 was such a cool film to shoot with. I shot some of my landscapes with EKTAR 100 and I am super happy that I did. One of the places I shot EKTAR 100 with was the Grand Canyon. The colors that I got back from it were pretty awesome. I was super happy with them when I started scanning them in.

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Q. What do you hope that people take away from this documentary?

LUKE: Our greatest hope is that people see shooting film as more than just the look, and they begin to understand the feel film gives you. There’s a lot of beauty in film, and this documentary explains it all. It’s the entire process that can really take your art to a new place.

ALAN: Do what you love to do!

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JOSH: I hope photographers that started with digital will see how amazing, expressive and rewarding film can be

MATT: I hope people can really understand what film is all about, and that it isn’t about shooting 2000 images at a wedding and not using 1800 or just bracketing one shot to make sure you get the right exposure. It is an art form and you really have to know what you are doing and time your shots just right. When you get to the point of having a 80% return rate on the shots you take with film, and it seems like every shot you take is awesome, that’s when film becomes an addiction. When you shoot 15 rolls of 120 and get back 195 or 200 images that are  awesome, that is a great feeling.

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NICK: I hope that people take away from the documentary that film is not dead. I don’t want people to think that we are trying to push that film is better than digital. They both have their uses and I encourage people to shoot what they want. Whether it is an iPhone, disposable camera or a Hassleblad, shoot what inspires you. I just hope that it educates new photographers and helps them understand the roots of photography. I think that if people understood film that they would have more of appreciation for photography. I know for me personally film has changed the way I shoot and it has brought more of an excitement to it.

Check out “Long Live Film!” on the Indie Film Lab YouTube Channel, available today.

In addition, you can see the team’s journey on Instagram, Facebook and on Twitter.

Click here to find more information on Indie Film Lab online.

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