Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Marc Falzon - 5 things I love about Film

Marc Falzon (b. 1987, Miami Beach, FL) graduated the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. His work explores both personal experiences and the way in which individuals consume; be it historical references, products and services, food, media, or interpersonal relationships. Falzon is now producing images of shoppers at Chinese mega-malls where he works and lives in Shenyang, China. Below are 5 reasons why he loves shooting film:

1. It’s decisiveness. Making an analog image is truly a conscious decision. At this point in time, digital imagery is constantly being unconsciously produced. Whether it by by satellite, security cameras, dashboard cameras, instinctual iPhone selfies and now even Google Glass. The constrained nature of film demands a kind of attention that is not necessary a synonymous part of the digital process. Now in 2014, with film become more and more specialized, it’s substance as a conscious medium has grown even more. While perhaps shallow, I do find this quality appealing.

2. It’s slowness, especially in large format. Because of it’s limited nature, analog photography forces one to slow down. This is especially true in large format where one has no choice but to use a tripod, check focus precisely, adjust the frame and consider what lenses, tilts, and shifts are necessary for the work. This control demands that the subject be carefully considered, that the final image is pictured. All of the thought and consideration must be done before the shutter click, unlike digital where an artist can all too easily rely on the viewfinder after the fact, or the editing process later. This is not necessarily bad, but the slowness can lead to a diminished chance of ‘missing the moment’ one wishes to capture to the best of their ability.

3. It’s influence on a works meaning. When working with analog materials, you are engaging it’s (albeit brief) historical context. This conversation becomes inherent in the work itself. The work is influenced by this approach, in the same way that an oil painting’s end result is categorically and aesthetically influenced separately than from the same subject digitally painted. This conscious engagement into the materiality of filmic photography enters into conversation with the subject; this places places it into the frame of the same techniques and thought processes of the old masters. This may not be necessary for someones work, but when it is, filmic photography is a form wholly other than digital. Not only that, but everything from developing methods, film types, scanning choices and happy accidents profoundly lends a hand in effecting ones work.

4. It’s cost-to-quality ratio. If we consider the amount of information we can capture for the lowest cost per bit, analog photography is still light years ahead of it’s digital counterpart. By simplifying things to the cost of a simple 8x10 camera, with lens, and a box of film; capturing the equivalent amount of information with digital backs is unrealistic.The same even applies when scaled down, to 4x5, or even 6x6 medium format. Film costs add up, but one could buy 2,564 rolls of Medium Format Provia for the price of one (15,000$) Hassleblad digital back. That’s 30,769 exposures. If your goal as an artist is to produce the highest quality of image possible within your means, film photography is the the leader of the pack.

5. It’s permanence. One of the most wonderful aspects of film is it’s resistance to digital failure. It escapes destruction from hard disk crashes, accidental trash bin emptying, data corruption and similar incidents. While I was in school I traveled to a small community in Iowa to document the people and shifting landscape following the economic recession. I spent two weeks there getting to know the community, and finally feeling satisfied, I traveled back to school to work on the images. After important, my disk became corrupted and the files were lost. So it goes. I made the decision to set to rest my Mark II and switch to film. It may sound inconsequential, but the knowledge that my work exists in a non digital form is very comforting.

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