David Martinez recently shared with me that he was working on a personal project photographing landscapes at dusk. I know David’s work well and I knew that the imagery would be beautiful. I asked him when I would be able to see the images he laughed and said that it would be awhile.
He had shot film.
It had been a long time since anyone in our group had shot film, so I was even more intrigued. I asked David to write about it and here is what he had to say.
“I like shooting landscapes at dusk. I see things that I normally wouldn’t in any other light and I wanted to explore that . I am just beginning the series, and plan to keep adding to it.
When I recently went out to capture some imagery for this series, I was in Mexico. There is a 5 mile stretch of beach that is slated for development in the next couple of years. It is one of my favorite places and I want to document it before it is gone. I have surfed this beach many a summer evening and really love the look of the light about an hour after sunset.
I remembered images I had made with film and the robust colors and rich textures that it would capture. It made me question if digital could handle the subtle transitions of color.
I knew film would be the way to go.
I decided to shoot with my Mamiya 6 which hadn’t been used in 5 years. This is a wonderful camera. I love how the lens is beautifully warm and sharp. One of the greatest things about the camera is how simple it is.
Initially I shot a few rolls of random things like my wife and daughter. I was getting reacquainted with film, so it was easy to just keep shooting. Oddly, it was liberating to shoot without the instant gratification of seeing what I had just shot. I kept going back to the location and over the course of a couple of weeks I had shot several rolls of film.
While I was in Mexico I was not anxious to get the film processed. However, when I got home I couldn’t wait to get to the lab. It of course took a few days to have it processed and proofed. So I just waited and wondered.
When I finally saw that first image, I was surprised at the emotion it brought up in me. I was looking at an old friend, beautiful skin tones, smooth color transitions, and a subtle texture of grain. I hadn’t realized how much I missed film, but upon seeing it again I remembered just how beautiful it is. With each image I viewed, I became more impressed with the quality.
I was reminded that the look of film, as well as the process of shooting the pictures, was very different.
I no longer looked back and forth from the scene to the image on the back of the camera. I was just looking at what was in front of me and concentrating on creating a photograph.
It was very liberating to trust my eye and have to wait and see what I created. Ironically, I was feeling more freedom shooting film than shooting digitally.
It had been about 5 years since I shot film, but the look of it was so familiar to me. It was easy to see the appeal of it after not using it for so long.
I know that the practicality of digital has made it the medium of choice but there is a beauty to film that can’t be replicated.
I have become so excited about using film again that on a recent cover shoot for San Francisco Magazine, I shot film as well as digital.
The art director preferred the look of the film version but due to an extremely tight deadline ended up not being able to use it.
However, I was able to once again enjoy the freedom of film.
Resource for Film processing and fine art prints http://www.dickermanprints.com/