Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Will Davis - 5 things I love about Film

William Davis (1974, UK) is an Essex based photographer, living on the banks of the River Colne. He recently received a MA Photography with distinction from LSBU and was the 2013 Winner
National Gallery London: Exploring the Landscape. His work spans both the genre of landscape and new documentary to explore the nature of place.
"I shot with a number cameras. I always carry a point and shoot on me either a Yashica T4 or now an Olympus Mju 2 (a great camera that seems to pop of everywhere, I even heard an internet rumour that William Eggelston has one, I like to think it’s true but it probably isn’t). But for serious work I use a Contax G2 or my EOS-1. I am shooting in medium format at the moment, I have been using a Fuji 690 that I have been lent, the negatives are huge and it has the same aspect ratio as my 35mm film. Once I have sold some digital cameras, I intend to either buy the Fuji 690 or a Contax 645 (different aspect ratio but more economical with film)," he says.
And here are 5 things he loves about film:

1. I have shot digital for many years now and never been overly happy with the results even though I won competitions with my images, I found that my photography was missing something. I was always frustrated with my results with digital and would often spend hours post processing my files, and I found I still wasn’t happy with the results. I enrolled to do my Masters in Digital Photography part-time, and during the course I had a road to Damascus moment. Ironically many of the photographers I found as part of my studies and loved, Stephen Shore, William Eggelston and Luigi Ghirri, just to name a few, all shot in film. After switching to film my photography improved enormously of and so did my enjoyment of photography.

2. The film approach for me is completely the reverse of digital; it requires a lot more patience and skill when taking the photograph initially, and little post processing at the end. Digital by contrast requires less time taking the photograph you can just shoot away endlessly, but a lot more time post processing to get an image looking the way you want it to. That’s why I shoot film, because I prefer spending my time out shooting rather than sitting behind a computer editing. It’s a slower yet more productive process. The scanned film images just look gorgeous often without any post production. I also find shooting film is a Zen like experience for me; it makes me much more in tune with the environment around me, looking for meaning and interesting colours, carefully framing each shot. By the end of the course I was shooting exclusively film.

3. I am far from being a Luddite, in fact in most cases I am an early adopter, but I often find with new technology, I go back to previous ways. The convenience of digital is great but I often find you lose many of the benefits of the older technology as well, I bought an e-reader early on and raved about it, but months later I went back to physical books, the same with photography.

4. If you take a really bad picture you cant just delete it like a digital file, it stays so you have to learn from it.

5. The magic of the darkroom, seeing the picture appear out of no where, even to this day I still find it an amazing experience. The range of cameras available they have personality and uniqueness, they are not just a copy of the previous generation with more megapixels.

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