So here it is as best I can recall. I was in seventh grade. Junior High we called it back then. I was not in sports, I gave up on the sax by 5th grade. I didn’t know how to play chess or talk to the other nerds. So I went to the meeting about Photo Club ( I still have the pin on a camera strap). I think we made photograms. Then we worked our way up to pinhole cameras made out of oatmeal containers. Eventually we made our way to camera film and processing.
By luck my folks had gotten a free gift with a subscription to Time or some other magazine. It was a 35mm camera. It had a fixed focus lens with 4 aperture settings. Cloudy, partly cloudy, partly sunny and Sunny. So basically a ƒ5.6 lens. It did have a flash mount though I think.
My Grandfather, Manville Passer, was an avid fan of photography. He documented the family on slides (which I inherited). Eventually we would talk about lenses and such as I moved more and more into photography. Somewhere I have a polaroid of me buying my first ‘real’ came at camera shop in downtown St. Paul. But I digress. For many years I’ve felt it was the influence of my grandfather and the support of my parents that led me to photography.
I have been scanning images lately to post on instagram in between new images. I came across this one of Manville from Christmas 1985. I believe this was one of the first rolls of film I developed. Manville passed away February 8, 2002.
Recently I have been struggling to reconnect a Lightroom “libray” with its images. I have most of the images across multiple drives (I think). So I’m not too worried that I lost those images. Many of the early kids photos and trips are sitting in a shutterfly folder (probably). So what! Since around 2004 I stopped photographing with film and switched to a convenient digital point and shoot (for trips) and eventually a DSLR (also for filmmaking). So roughly the last 15 years are digital. Somewhere.
Since around 2014, shortly before my divorce, I had my Rollei TLR serviced and started photographing the children regularly with it. At some point starting the tradition of photographing them on their birthday. Since then I have shot a lot more than that. Especially on trips the last two years. I picked up a Hasselblad, then another one (sold the first one). Found I really liked a wide angle lens in the square format. Tried some Lomography plastic wide camera (sold it after shooting one roll). Picked up a Mamiya Press camera which is sort of like a large format camera in the front and 6X9 camera in the back. And it’s a rangefinder so that is interesting (and imprecise).
So after scanning three rolls I process today from the last couple of weeks (I didn’t say I was that prolific), I wanted to sit down and write about it. Or at least collect some thoughts to think about later. As of right now I don’t have a series or book in mind. I like to shoot what I like to shoot. Nature and landscape is nice, but I don’t consider myself hardcore enough to camp out to get the perfect light for image. I like photographing my children but at some point they won’t let me anymore. I’m interested in photographing people, but have never really thought about how to ask. Right now I enjoy having this. Perhaps you would like to buy a print and hang it on your wall?
This is shocking and blog worthy. $2500 for a super 8 camera from Kodak in 2018! Yes, that is the correct amount of zeros. Kodak has been teasing this updated Super 8 camera for a couple of years now. I saw a demo unit last fall and it was pretty cool. Essentially it has a built in “video assist” as a monitor. It had microphone and audio inputs to record synchronized sound (onto an SD card). They also expanded the gate to get a little more out of the aspect ratio. Sounds really cool, something I might consider for $800. But for $2500 I could get a really nice Bolex 16, An Arri-S with pin registration or possibly and Arriflex SR! Granted film cost and processing escalates with 16mm, but at that point why not. I get the nostalgia factor and warm fuzzy feeling you get with Super 8 but I could not justify this cost. Good luck Kodak.
So we just finished up a mini doc about my perspective on film. The catalyst for the project was to create a 2 minute doc about something you are passionate about to win a Sony FS7. It turned out really well. Please check it out.
Alright, I’m the film guy. I just had a thought about how new film stocks would come out every couple of years. The manufacturer would tout how amazing and improved the stock is and how it was simply better in every way than the previous 200T or whatever. Then every article in American Cinematographer would talk about shooting the older stock, because the cinematographer knew how it would look through post, because they need time to acquaint themselves with the new stock. Even years after a stock had been discontinued you might hear someone say, wow I really miss ’93, the color palette was amazing. So my point in this post is that digital cameras are flying at us with unprecedented speed and we see even more tests on vimeo or forums but I don’t see that we are comfortable with what is right now like we were with film. This post will be out of date in a month. Whatever camera I mention will have a new update, new model or be completely antiquated in a month.
Right now I’m using a Canon 5DmkIII. I also use a RED ONE MX and RED Scarlet from school. And I have a Panasonic HVX in the closet that comes out to play on long format productions. These are good for now, but there is something better. Dragon, Alexa, Black Magic, Sony. They all have cameras that are better, smaller, faster out right now. The point I’m trying to make is will my 5D or Scarlet be the films stock that is no longer manufactured? Or is the new Dragon sensor really a better film stock than that old 93 ever was and I just need to move on? Will it be good enough to not compare to film at all?