Posts Tagged ‘16mm’

Dancing at the Fair. Well, not just dancing! (If they were only dancing, it’d be an out!)

There’s no substitute for content.  None.  You can have the most technically perfect, accurately exposed frame, with the best sensor in the best camera and the fastest lens on the market, and give me a 10-year-old point and shoot with a subject worth photographing, and I’ll blow you out of the water every time.

Because I’m a pro, and I can’t get anything with that ultimate set up without content.  Content is king.  No one cares about a bit of grain if they’re smiling, laughing or even crying.  The content does that, not the pixel count.

Which goes to explain why so many people are satisfied with the poor images they get out of their phones.  Because they don’t see that quality, they see Uncle Joe trying to stand on his head.  Or Stephanie sitting in her new car.  The rest is just details.  They’re enamored with the content.

But that content may not work for someone outside of their family.  Show me that handstand and I might be rightly bored.  Because I don’t know him, it’s poorly shot and I wasn’t there.  I don’t have the same experience with the moment as you do.

Same reason why Garry Winogrand said he wouldn’t look at his images for a year after he made them.  He wanted time to get rid of the nostalgic feelings of capturing something, and to look for content in the frame.  Because content is king.

Robert Capa famously said, if your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.  To which I add, keep moving in and close in on a worthy subject.  Fill the frame with content worth sharing.  (Or don’t share, that’s fine, too.)

If you want to shoot street, if I never see another person on the corner looking at their phone, it will be too soon.  That person needs more of a story than just standing there.  If they have a long cord going up to his apartment window nine stories high, shoot that!   That’s content!

Seek the story.  Find the image.  It’s out there.  Go get it.

The cap is long gone. The case cover–no idea!

Just like I don’t buy Leica cameras to put them on a display shelf, I also don’t purposefully beat them up.  But I do strive to carry them uncased, take them everywhere, and use them, even to the point of perhaps someday, used up.  I think film cameras are beautiful in all stages of their lives, and if anything, least so when brand-new looking.  Why?  Because that says to me a camera that isn’t being used.

I am a firm believer that all items are replaceable, and while no need to bang them up and be hard on them, they don’t need to be babied.  Leicas went to war, they can handle a sprinkle on the way to the car.  Or a bump against the doorway.

So, use them well, use them a lot, and use them up.  Carry them everywhere, set them down anywhere.  Don’t worry about them.  They are not showpieces.  They are tools for the job.  The job of making photographs, saving memories, documenting history.  Our history.  Today.

A lovely patina is a mark of a cherished tool.  Use it today!


Me in 1988, working as a photojournalist for the Trenton Times, NJ.

I find that as more people abandon film, the more I love the fact that we have the tools to still use this amazing, great analog wonder.  And I feel like we are a lucky bunch who understand and embrace it.  Not to say there’s no appreciation for digital, because all my commercial work is shot digitally, but we get to play here still.  While the whole world has turned its back on film and dumped their cameras, we can pick them up, often for a song, and get to keep their tough metal gears moving forward.

I like that I am in the company of other film photographers, yourself included if you are one, too.  We have a magic box that many digital photographers have never even used.  Who have no idea how to use one.  And we get to still make magic.  A surge in demand for film has brought some back into production.

Keep on shooting.  2015 will bring a lot of photo opportunities to us. As long as we’re ready to go out and meet them.  I wish you a great photographic year.  And look forward to watching your blogs and seeing your work, too!

bolex2This is what I saw one day walking on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, and I had to get a photo of her.  And the camera operator, too!

Carrying my Rolleiflex, I asked if I could take her portrait.  She immediately recognized the coolness of my picture machine, and said yes.

That’s a vintage Bolex 16mm film camera, probably a Rex4, she’s shooting.

It looks to me like it could be a still from 1968.

I have another love for motion picture film, too.  I shoot Super 8 and 16mm.  A similar unique look to those images!

Cameras reunited, and it feels so good!