Saturday, March 1, 2014

Laszlo Gerencser - 5 things I love about Film

Laszlo Gerencser is a Budapest, Hungary based photographer and film camera collector. He has had an interesting photography project in macro named The KIWI Project that he did with his son by using a Zenit 3M camera. "We used its standard lenses and macro tube and took the photos on the cheapest available 400 ASA color film."

Below are five main reasons why Laszlo still loves shooting film:

1. I like the imperfection of film. The shifted colors, the grain, the effect of light leaking, The way it records out of focus areas and motion blurs. I'm not interested in documenting the reality, I'm interested in emphasizing some things and hiding others. Film is clearly superior in how it blurs or hides things. Its chemical or physical imperfections are much more pleasant to the human eye than digital imperfections.

2. Film slows you down. Especially when you use full manual cameras. You have to meter light, set aperture and shutter speed and focus the lens every time you take a photo. Pushing a button is not enough. You have limited film material. Every frame counts. It makes you think over what you would like to record and how it can be done - before the moment of taking the picture comes.

Film gets you better prepared. For an action shot you have to set everything before the moment you want to record arrives. No auto focus tracking, no program mode - just you.

3. The gear. You can use fantastic film cameras. Every one has a story behind it. Lots of them represent milestones in the development of photography. But most importantly: they are great to use. You can try top category SLR-s, superior quality medium format cameras, professional 35mm rangefinders for fraction of the price of a new DSLR. Same applies to the lenses. Want to try some Zeiss glasses? Go for film photography! Using a DSLR is not much fun. On the other hand, using a Bessamatic or a Kiev is not just extremely cool but gives you a tremendous amount of joy.

4. The philosophy. Recording a moment with an irreversible chemical reaction. You release the shutter and the light burns that moment into the silver halide layer of the film forever. This is not just a digital noise what will be deleted sooner or later, no. This is a real material that you can touch with your hand, a physical representation of a memory.

5. Experimenting. You can discover film types, make your own macro photography set, try new lenses every week, make a pinhole camera, do weeks-long exposure and this is just the beginning. I know a guy who developed color film in red wine after a long party. But you can use coffe and vitamin C as well.

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