St. Louis in Black and White
On a recent outing with Photo Flood Saint Louis, I decided to break out the black and white film, and shot some in 35mm and 120mm. Working in film is a cathartic process; it forces you to slow down and consider your composition and exposure in a way that digital does not. Also, once you’ve taken the picture, you are released from it, at least until you begin to eventually unwind it from the spool after development. You must trust in your intimacy with the camera. How well you know your partner corresponds to how well your photograph will turn out in the end. With digital, it’s the opposite. Even after you’ve used a camera for an extended period, common practice is to distrust it; to check on what it has been up to immediately after you take the photograph.
Of course, realistically, neither process is “better” than the other. They are just evolved to different tasks: digital is the master of exact color reproduction and instantaneous results, whereas film is the master of inherent expressiveness and, for the most part, resolution. Whether you use either may depend upon what you plan to do with the results. Or, like me, maybe you just have an itch to slow things down a bit, and concentrate on the picture-making.
Camera 1: Bronica ETRSi; Bronica 75mm f/2.8 lens; AE-II metered prism (turned out to be about two stops off); Kodak T-Max 400 film (120mm, 15 exposures).
Scanner: Epson 10,000XL; 24-bit color at 1200dpi. On the 120mm, I should have laid it flat on the scan-bed instead of in a tray which is why you can see some shadows encroaching on those images….