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“FILM VS DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY” with Alex Harper

Film-vs-digital-photography

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

Ansel Adams
Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, every technical process becomes robotized and less labor intensive. You do not need to type anymore – Siri will type it and search the query for you. You do not need to drive anymore – Tesla will take the wheel and drive you to a desired destination. With photography, an authentic ritual of putting the film into a camera, spinning the handle to “load the frame”, manually setting exposure, focus, shutter, shooting photos, and later spending hours in a dark lab developing the film – is gone.
Now you just turn the power button on, set camera on auto everything, shoot 10 images per second, and instantly have it on your computer, already pre-colorcorrectd and edited with presets in Capture 1.
For the most part the art of photography has become more accessible for people. It is easier than ever before to take photos.  It is quicker than ever to finish it. Yet is it better?

In our latest interview episode of “Hard To Clean Material” Youtube series , with photographer Alex Harper we discuss perks of film photography, its application in contemporary world and some uniques features that lack in digital photography.

 

The full interview is available of YOUTUBE.  For your convenience, here is the transcript of it as well.

Alex Harper: Hi, I’m Alex Harper. I’m a multidisciplinary artist, particularly editorial photography, collages recently, but photographer overall.

Ron: What brought you into photography?

Alex Harper: I started when I was about 14 developing my own film, really learning how to shoot film primarily, then starting shooting digital.

Ron: What is your favorite camera?

Alex Harper: Simple. I’ve been using my grampa’s old film camera from the ’80s with a 15mm lens and a 75 to 200, and that thing has been awesome. It’s an old Nikkormat and I love it: the colors, the way it sounds.

Ron: What about digital?

Alex Harper: The digital camera, I have a Canon 6D in my left arm with my film camera’s my right arm. I love that camera so much. And then today actually I brought a medium-format camera that I have yet to use, so today’s sort of the tester, but I’m really excited about that.

Ron: How would you compare film vs digital shooting experience?

Alex Harper: I love that I live in a world where I get to do both, but the thing that I love about film is it just slows me down so much. I feel like with digital you just snap, snap, snap, snap, snap—or at least that’s what I was doing. And with the film it really has taught me, “Hey, slow down. Focus on each image you’re taking. Make each of the 36 exposures count and make sure your settings are correct, make sure your subject is ready, make sure everything is in place before you shoot the picture,” and that ability to refocus and re-hone in on my craft has made me find a whole another love for photography that I was missing before.

Alex Harper: And digital’s incredible, that immediacy. There’s something about that too, but I think, especially people that I’ve been growing up with, we’ve primarily only shot digital, so getting to rediscover or discover for the first time that love of film, it’s like a high because you don’t know what you’re taking until it’s all developed so you just hope for the best. I think there’s something really exciting about that.

Ron: Will film format ever make a come back ?

Alex Harper: I really see a resurgence, honestly. I think everyone is starting to feel the same way I’m feeling about digital and film. I think the look of it is so incredible it just can’t be duplicated on digital, I don’t think.

Ron: Where do you develop film?

Alex Harper: Oh, I wish I had my own darkroom, but there’s this incredible place down Ventura and Sherman Oaks called 35m. Shout out to 35m. They’re the bomb. They develop everything for me in like an hour or two hours, and I’ll come in with five or six rolls at a time, so they … Like, seriously, shout out to them. You live in the Los Angeles area … This is not paid, this is not sponsored, but seriously, they’re the best, and I will always go to them.

Alex Harper: To develop it’s $5, and then for the scan-to-CD it’s $10 for a roll.

Ron: Where do you buy film?

Alex Harper: When I first started shooting film I just would go to CVS or Rite Aid and buy a four-pack of 24-exposure Fujifilm, and honestly I love that. I love the look of those, the green of it—I love that so much. I recently started getting of course into Porta 400 because you can’t beat that. But anything, give it to me, I’ll shoot on it. I’m not snobby that way.

Alex Harper: … film developed and it’s black or super green or super underexposed, and that sucks because you’re so excited about those images, but again, like I’ve been saying, the way that it slows you down and makes you focus on what you’re doing starts to solve those problems for you.

Ron: Thank you so much for your answers!

Alex Harper: Thanks for having me, guys.

Watch the full interview with Alex:

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