Jaylen photographed digitally

The only shot I could salvage from the rolls of film , Katie and Jaylen 2012

This morning is the first time I've really thought about giving film the flick for my documentary work. For the last 3 series I have shot ( my Dad, mothers and Wintringham) I've been shooting with my Rolleiflex, getting big, beautiful negatives that really show what film can do. The use of film has added to the end photos but also to the whole experience for myself and for the people I photograph. Before that I photographed Tyler and my showgirls series with 35mm Neopan 1600. I used it out of necessity as I didn't own a digital camera and the film was so easy to predict.

Now I am shooting for a series which I hope will be my best yet. To shoot it I need to take time away from paid work, my own life and also insert myself into someone else's. This week I have been shooting for this project, using a new ( to me) film , Ilford's Delta 3200. I am shooting in a hospital which is quite dark, and want to shoot 35mm without flash as its more of a photo essay for me than the last few series I have shot. Being in a hospital it is also quite dramatic so I will need to work quickly to get the results I want meaning this is not a job for my rolleiflex. I'm scanning the negs as I type this, hoping that one of the 5 rolls I have shot will have something salvageable. The film pull and Dev combination has blown out the highlights horribly, increased grain and flattened tones. I am sitting here looking at moments in time I will never get back and realising my need to use film has destroyed them.  
Over the past year I have become a much more confident photographer, with the workshop I did in Oaxaca teaching me how to get the results I have always wanted without the angst that had always come with it for me. So to look at a day's worth of work ruined by my choice of film when I could have just used my D3 and been able to focus on taking photos not technical worries, well, it is kind of making me want to punch myself in the head.

The end outcome for this series is most likely publication which means the negatives would be scanned and outputted digitally eventually negating any need for shooting film for the project at all. So I think I have convinced myself- for all 35mm work in which I need high speeds the F801-s has officially been relieved of duties.


  1. ay girly. if i could add my two cents, i say go digi. it'll save decades off the post work, PLUS you can crank the shit out of the iso. BUT. if your still wanting to do some film, pull the 3200 to 1600, and even try ultrafin plus dev.
    these are the wise words of Ed. you them wisely

    1. Wisely I will! I am just going to stick with digital as there is nothing shooting with film is going to bring to the final images really. I'm not having a show so there's really no need beyond my own dogma about film being better. I had forgetten the difference in quality with 35mm and 120 not to mention Tri X to a higher speed film. It's really now worth the risk.



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