Me on photography: Leslie always tells me not to be bitter about digital photography and she’s right. Photography was to be my profession for many happy years, not weddings or portraits but commercial and advertising photography. In a studio with large and small products doing work for businesses. Using large and medium format film cameras and a darkroom to produce the images an art director and I crafted. But once digital photography became mainstream clients could shoot in-house, an inferior product, but cheaper and completely under their control. So over time the writing was on the wall that the investment I had made in education, equipment and darkroom lost its value and I decided to move on to commercial printing and pre-press were my color printing training was a perfect fit. As time went on I moved into the technical side of the creative world supporting everything Apple/Mac related, and that’s what I still do professionally today.
So through all this I discovered that my love of photography is the art of photography and I shoot for me and not for money. At one point I sold my original film equipment for a digital set-up and it was like the soul of photography was gone, everything I loved was gone and cold. I spent a number of years not touching a camera at all because I got no joy from it. I eventually found my artistic way and bought all new (used) medium format film equipment, and some vintage film cameras. I still had my entire darkroom set-up and because of my technical expertise in color and printing I purchased a high end film scanner and a wide format pigment printer so I could have both digital and darkroom printing capabilities, and the ability to share my film images on-line.
So I’m not bitter anymore about digital photography but thankful that it led me back to the art form of photography were it all began and I’m much happier making money in the tech world and having photography my no strings attached creative outlet.
Which brings me to the attached video of film photographer Joe Freeman, he sums up the combined art and craft of why I love film photography. He too sees it as a whole process, from film to camera to darkroom to print. Apparently he has quit smoking since this film was made, you’ll see what I mean. Enjoy!
My favorite vintage 35mm camera is the Voigtlander Vito II:
- Produced c 1954 Voigtlander braunshweig, Germany
- Film type 135
- Picture size 35mm
- Weight 14.6 oz (413.9g)
- Lens coated Color-Skopar 50mm f3.5
- Filter size
- Focal range 3′ to infinity
- Shutter Prontor-S
- Shutter speeds T, B, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 300
- Viewfinder simple
- Exposure meter none
Mine is the German model so the distance is measured in meters. I bought from the original owners son and it and its fitted case are in pristine condition. It also take very sharp and clean images.
Black and white film photography has been my favorite photographic medium for years. Since before I developed my first roll of 35mm film and made my first print with an enlarger. I always loved looking at old black and white family photo albums that had been shot decades before I was born. The dramatic contrast always captivated me, unlike newer color images which just looked like what I saw every day.
The first camera I ever owned was a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye 620 film camera that my grandfather gave to me when I was six. I took many pictures with that camera for many years, and then a parade of 110, 126, instant, and other film cameras before I finally decided to get serious about taking pictures. The summer of the year I turned 15 I worked at Spring House Country Day camp, and we got paid one lump sum at the end of the summer, which I put directly into the bank. I sat on that money for months while I researched 35mm cameras, which back then took a lot of work since there was no internet. I visited multiple camera stores, the libraries, and actually called manufactures to ask questions. I finally narrowed it down to two cameras The Pentax K100 and the Fujica st6o5N, and the winner was the Pentax K1000 which I still believe is the best beginner 35mm film camera ever made, or for any level user for that matter.
And years later the images continue to come, different cameras and equipment, changes in film, paper, scanners and a host of other changes, but still a love for film photography and to make images.