So many choices, so little time. Dotwell Camera in Hong Kong
For the last year and a half or so, I have been shooting my personal street photography on exclusively film. After shooting digital for around 7 years or so, it has been a great experience so far and I have learned a ton.
When I first wanted to start shooting street photography I had a lot of fears. What if the photos don’t turn out? What settings should I use? What film is ideal? Where do I get my film processed? Or should I process it myself? What camera should I use? What chemicals do I need? The list goes on.
I am certainly not an expert when it comes to shooting film, but I wanted to write this article as a primer for those of you who want to get your feet wet (but may not know where to start). I will use my personal experiences and opinions– but of course, feel free to experiment. And if you see any mistakes in this article, please correct me in the comments below and I will revise it.
I started off my photographic career with a my a Nikon D60 two years ago. I loved it and loathed it and wished that I had something that had video mode, so I looked into entry level DSLRs and thought the Nikon D3100 sounded like a pretty good shout. After about two months of using it I felt like I didn’t look professional enough, and people wouldn’t take me seriously enough unless I had a camera to match my ability.
Had a quick chat with my buddy Dana Barsuhn, a fellow street photographer from Los Angeles and former attendee of my Intermediate Los Angeles Street Photography Workshop. For those of you geeks who are curious, he shoots B/W Tri-X film on his Leica M4, with a 35mm Zeiss Lens. Also featured in the video is his new toy, the Contax T3 he just picked up for snapshots.
Dana was introduced to street photography from his friend (host of the podcast The Candid Frame), Ibarionex Perello. Also for inspiraitonal images, check out Stanko Abadzic (one of Dana’s huge influences).
Photos by Dana Barsuhn
You can see the rest of Dana’s work in his “Los Angeles” album on his website.
Framed 2011 Book
Dana also put together a book of his street images from 2011 as a personal diary. All the images in the book were shot with his Leica M4 rangefinder 35mm film camera, captured in and around the Los Angeles area, developed in his kitchen sink and scanned to his computer computer!
Feel free to download the PDF book and share it on your computer or iPad!
I had the huge pleasure of meeting up with Kaiman Wong from Digital Rev TV a few days ago- and filming this video! It was great to finally meet Kai in person (he’s really that hilarious!) as well as the video genius Lok and the lovely Alamby who helped coordinate everything. I was shooting with my Leica M6, and Kai with his Leica M2 and 15mm Voightlander lens (super wide!).
Some people on YouTube wrote some responses regarding arranging photographs for my shots. I thought it was a legitimate question and here is my answer:
Generally I don’t ask for permission when shooting, but typically after shooting my first photograph without permission – I enjoy chatting with my subjects and getting them to pose for me. Of course once they start posing and get directed by me, it is no longer candid and thus not proper “street photography”. However in the end – I like interacting with my subjects and I feel that it is able to help me build rapport and good will. I am not so interested in only taking all of my photos without permission- as I do ask for permission at times for my shots as well.
Hopefully the video will be good to those who are uncomfortable shooting street photography, and afraid of the reactions of others. I very rarely have any issues shooting in the street, and I try to show how I interact with my subjects in the video.
In the end I am not so interested in defining what street photography is or isn’t– but creating messages and meaning through my photographs– that make statements about society. I discuss this at length at a previous post titled, “What’s Important in Street Photography?”
Anyways hope you guys enjoyed the video and will keep you updated with more stuff from Hong Kong soon!
Eric’s Note: This feature is by Trevor Marczylo, a Winnipeg-based street photographer who has made the move to Korea! If anyone in Korea wants to meet up with him- drop him a line! Follow his blog as well.
Trevor: I ‘ve gotten a ton of emails over the last few weeks regards to how I get that black sloppy border around my images in the darkroom. I simply just took a file and hacked into it until I was happy.
So for this week’s article I thought I’d write a quick and simple discription on how to file out your negative holder so you can have your own signature negative border style.
There really isn’t anything to it and all you need is a small flat file and your negative holder, some black paint or nail polish and the will to destroy your neg holder.
Recently when I went to Tokyo, I had a ton of fun shooting in the streets with Charlie Kirk and Bellamy Hunt—both who shoot film. I never really understood the rationale why people shot with film. To me at the time, it seemed like a burden. First of all, you had to buy the film. Secondly, after you took the photos you couldn’t see them instantly. And lastly, it was expensive to develop it (and even more money to scan). For these three reasons, I was mostly put off by film. Although I did shoot a bit with my Contax IIIa film rangefinder and did enjoy it—at the end of the day I preferred my digital camera.
Nevertheless, I was intrigued with film once I came to Tokyo. In Tokyo, the analog culture is strong. There are tons of used film camera shops, and tons of other places where you can buy film as well. Not only that, but there are many photographers who shoot film who support one another as well and have their own communities. I had no idea how much influence the analog culture would have on me when I was in Tokyo.
Eric’s Note: This article is by Ollie Gapper, a street photographer based in the UK- and now a weekly contributor to the blog. Stay tuned for more of his “Ollie Gapper Thursday” posts!
Over the past few months it’s fair to say I’ve spent a lot of time and money on printing. Though it wasn’t entirely through choice, it’s an element of my university course I absolutely would not change. It’s enlightened me, allowed me to look at my work in a totally different way. Being able to hold an image, move it around in the light, hold it close to my face and scrutinise every inch of it, it feels like its making me a better photographer. Seriously.
I’ve learnt a lot in terms of traditional, darkroom printing, both colour and black and white, and in doing so, I’ve learnt a lot about my film and my photographs.
Ive also been reading through the Ansel Adams technical guide books (The Camera, The Negative and The Print) which has taught me to reverse this method of only ever printing for your negative, it instead teaches you to expose your negative for your print. I shant go into the specifics of the Zone System or anything, as thats not what I want to say in this article.