maandag 25 juli 2011

The psychological advantage of shooting film

There are loads and loads of discussions on the internet about film vs digital. Both have their pros and cons. Of course digital is cheaper, and you get instant feedback, yet there are lots of people who prefer film over digital because of the mood film gives you, and sometimes, the quality. I won’t go into this since I don’t have the right gear to do a thorough test, and it’s not a really interesting discussion I think. Just do whatever feels right.

Anyway lets talk about the psychological side of this discussion. This summer I went to Kyiv for a course, and most of the people who study environmental sciences joined me. They all  brought their cameras. (seriously anyone brought a camera) and millions of pictures have been taken. Except by me, I only shot 36 to be precise. Usually I would carry my DSLR and people would expect me to take the group shots etc. But I brought my grandfathers old SLR, and no one expected anything of me. I didn’t feel the pressure of taking photos of my friends, I just took the photos I wanted to take. People in the street of Kyiv (and the ring of soot from a previous fire in the fuse box in the hotel). I almost didn’t take photographs of my fellow students and they didn’t expect me to, even though I was carrying a large camera.

I observed more and shot less. When I look back at my trip to Rome, I took around 250 photographs. I have to admit I found less to photograph in Kyiv than in Rome, and I would probably have used more rolls of film in Rome. But I would never reach that 250 photographs. Somehow this gives you a peaceful feeling. You aren’t chasing shots, you are observing again. I think I would have experienced Rome better if I would’ve taken a film camera. With this in mind I took the same SLR with me on my holiday with my girlfriend. I filled another roll of film, and while I filled it I discovered that this is a far more relaxed way of photographing your precious moments. You only take photographs of the really important events, so you will have your memories. But you aren’t documenting anymore, you aren’t the guy anymore who is one meter away to take the photograph, you are part of the group again.

Of course this statement is a bit bold, I certainly did enjoy my holiday in Rome and I didn’t feel closed out. But I experienced my “film-holidays” more intense than my digital ones.
And besides the experiencing factor, it somehow feels great to use the same technology on my holidays as my father used during his holidays when he was around my age.

So in conclusion, I will take my film camera on my next holiday and I will only take one or two rolls of film.
thank you very much for reading,