external “Stop Romanticizing About The Good Old Film Days – They Weren’t That Good”

— Scott Bourne at Photofocus

Shooting film doesn’t make you an artist. Neither does starving, wearing a beanie and a scarf for that matter. Having vision, heart, dedication to craft, earned and learned skill, a genuine story to tell, empathy and passion for your subject, etc., THOSE things make you an artist. The process? It’s just like the hammer to the nail. The sooner you get that, the sooner you move toward being great.

Visit this link → · Shared on Apr 18, 2013
  • Bruno Gonzalez

    I have been told that using wet collodion would turn anyone into a true artist, especially the ultra large formats… is it true?

  • DamianM

    no. not exactly.

    but you will really think about what you really want to photograph with such a process in Ultra Large Format.

    Its really what you like to do.

  • DamianM

    The guy trails of and calling all film photographer beanie wearing hippies.
    Insulting people wont get the point across, even though I do see a lot of beanie wearing digital shooters too.
    There really isn’t a point until the end but by then it defeats the whole purpose of the article.
    Ill keep doing my Large Format Color photography and you can keep doing your digital computer photography.
    Its Okay. I like the way I work.

  • Cameron Knight

    Scott Bourne is the Alex Jones of photography. What’s amazing is that I can leave a comment about him somewhere. Shocking. And secondly, go to well reputed art school like Savannah or San Francisco and ask if the process isn’t important.

  • Rob S

    Right on brother!

    Film was expensive, time consuming and unforgiving. I dont care how good you were you never KNEW if the shot was right until hours/days later. And god forbid you ran out of things to shoot in the middle of the roll. Do I just blast away the last 15 frames (at about $1 a pop in todays money) or can I wait to develop? Shooting events the answer was always finish the roll because you cant just develop the first 4 of 5 rolls.

    I developed my own B&W and I NEVER felt comfortable to the point of knowing everything would be fine. Every roll I pulled out I thought “oh I hope I didn’t mess this up.” I never did but I always worried.

    Then it was off to the enlarger – essentially taking the picture a second time. Frame it, focus it and then time the exposure right. After that into the baths. Is the temperature right? Did I get the mix right? And then the timing in each bath. Ugh. After all that you had to hang them up and let them dry. I was lucky to live in a low humidity place. Cant imagine doing it in Louisiana. Then and only then could you know for sure if you got it. And if you didn’t? Too bad. That moment was gone.

    Sure I was more disciplined. You had to be. But I missed a ton of shots checking my exposure. I missed more because I had a K1000 with manual advance – click, crank, click. And then the shots missed because there was no 37th exposure. Or the ones missed while rewinding. The ones missed while loading. The ones missed because ASA 400 just doesnt grab that much light. Just for fun some time limit yourself to 36 exposures before you have to change memory cards. When you do, give $30 to the nearest person. Now you can shoot 36 more. And limit your camera to ISO 400, 2 fps and no exif data. Got to write down all that exposure info.

    Bye film. Dont let the door hit you on the way out.

  • hugh crawford

    I kind of miss being able to mark up the cost of film and all the processing and clip tests at duggal, and not having the client wanting to see every shot as it’s taken, and being able to bill dinner for the crew waiting for the lab to messenger the film back before breaking the set.

  • Richard Ford

    Why give this (convicted felon) pig of a man any air time at all PP?

  • Sam Agnew

    Well, it is a blatent troll but I think a few points should be addressed.

    • He had a crummy time shooting film back then. Film shooting now is not like back then. False comparison. I don’t have a darkroom or an enlarger. I have a light table and a couple scanners as well as a daylight tank. You only need to do as much of that darkroom work as you want to. Lots of people shoot film and let the lab do everything and give them a CD. How is that difficult?

    • Digital is newer image capture technology than film. Let him answer, when he was shooting film was there colour and black and white? Why was there still black and white? Surely colour replaced it? All that messing around with red, green and yellow filters and never being able to enjoy colours in the final product. How did those neanderthal black and white photographers live with themselves?? Oh right, we still have black and white and people still respond to it!

    • The post was an attacking troll. I have a DSLR and probably six or seven film cameras. I like film. I like the process, the tools and the results. It’s not because I’m too stupid to work a digital camera nor because I don’t have one. When I do pull out the DSLR it is often to experiment with new image processing techniques. Aren’t I lucky to have all of these great tools available.

    • Shooting film doesn’t stick you in a time machine and drop you off in 1980 by magic. Guess what? I have better films available to me now. I have decent home scanners and a computer with the horsepower to deal with a big scan. I have Lightroom and all the tools that a digital shooter has to use on my scans. It’s a great time to be alive and shooting film!

    • Film captures light differently. It is a different medium. Look up the term “metamerism”. Once your film or sensor takes the full spectrum of wavelengths of light and chops it up into certain values of red, green and blue certain decisions about the rendering of the scene have already happened. This is why all “film simulation” software that tries to make digital-sourced files look life Velvia (for example) fail. It’s a different medium. You may not like it but if you don’t nobody is going to make you use it.

    • HDR, Photoshop, stitched panoramas. What?? You mean if I pick up a film camera I have to throw my computer away?? What do you think Photoshop was developed for? Most of the traditional Photoshop tools are geared towards processing scans. That’s why Photoshop deals with one shot at a time and that’s why Lightroom was developed as a more appropriate tool for digital capture where you tend to have a bunch more files.

    I realise I am playing into the hands of this article by even responding but I think it is only fair to a generation that don’t really know film to point out what a ridiculous viewpoint is being espoused in this article.

  • MMielech

    Fantastic little rant. I’m an old timer, so, totally agree. Embraced digital back in the 80s, and rejoiced at every advancement. So happy never to touch chemicals again. Watched a thirty year old man succumb to nerve damage after he hand processed E3 for a few years, and I worked in a dye transfer lab that had to have it’s air conditioning ducts replaced every five or so years due to the chemical damage.
    I guess the hipsters will keep some old processes alive along with old bicycle frames turned into fixies and vinyl albums. Every body needs to be cool for a little while, I suppose. It’s kind of silly, and will go nowhere, but, let them have at it. I’ll take Photoshop and Ink jet, thank you.

  • MMielech

    Please explain the legal issue. I am not familiar with the man.

  • Duke Shin

    >hurr durr grainy images

    Grain is beautiful. Noise isn’t.
    Enjoy your shadow detail turning into a bowl of fruit loops.

  • MMielech

    “Lots of people shoot film and let the lab do everything and give them a CD. How is that difficult?”

    So, let me get this straight. You shoot film, for some reason or another, instead of digital, and argue here that it is a better medium than said digital, but, then “let the lab do everything” and then work from their CD? Aren’t you curious at all how your film makes it to the CD? Do you understand that process? Do you know that, well, that CD in your hand could hold garbage quality images, or, high quality digital scans, and, you have no idea? Of course it isn’t “difficult”, because, you’ve just paid someone to do half the work. How is this a better process?

  • Rob S

    LOL. OK, those parts were nice.

  • MMielech

    Ah, the old days.

  • Desslok

    “The image is what matters. Period.”

    Yes, it does. Pity that digital looks like crap.

  • Mike

    I believe this is what Richard is talking about. Seems you have already given hims some air time.

  • Michael Della Polla

    I feel like this guy is speaking directly to the Mirrorless fanboy group.. The type of photographer that has dabbled with photography but not anything other than digital..

    Current drum scanners are terrific. We shoot 4×5 and 8×10 and get larger prints than if we shot digital…

    Our 8×10 equivalent resolution when scanned is 300 Megapixels.. What what digital?

  • Olivier Du Tré

    It’s not the photograph that counts, it’s about the print. The final product.
    Big difference IMO. Nobody cares about your files or negatives. People will remember prints. And personally, I still like silver gelatine prints processed in a wet darkroom over K3 or K7 and that’s why I use film.

    Grain is beautiful, it’s random. Noise is not. So don’t compare the two.
    If sh*t happens is because you f*cked up along the way. Don’t blame your tools. Blame yourself.

  • MMielech

    That’s John Candy’s younger brother, right?

  • faloc

    meh…that book cover could have been done better

  • Ryan

    I’m not at all curious how my film makes it to the CD. I’ve scanned film before, and I’ve visited the lab that works on my film. I know that my scans won’t be “garbage” because I’ve worked with the lab and they know exactly what I want and what I expect. Given what my lab charges its a bargain. Which would you rather be doing? Sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, or be out shooting? For me I’d rather be out shooting, no contest. Actually, I can think of about 100 things I’d rather do than sit in front of a computer and move a clone stamp tool around.