January 30, 2012

FILM IS NOT DEAD - A digital photographer's guide to shooting film

Believe it or not, as of today I am an author. Well, not really, ok, kind of. Let me explain...

Today, a book that I wrote with Kristen Kalp is released world-wide. It is a book about shooting film.

A book about shooting film? Didn't Kodak just announce Chapter 11 bankruptcy? How in the world is film relevant today in a world choked full of shiney, new, FANCY DSLR's (digital cameras)?

Well, this book is out to show you/the world why.

If you follow me, or read this blog, you know I shoot film. But do you know why I shoot film? Is it some marketing ploy? Is it because I never made the transition to digital? Is it because it is cool and trendy?

NO. NO. NO, oh and NO.

I shoot film for a myriad of reasons (this is covered in the book). The look of it for one, the ease of it for two, and it forces me to know my craft inside and out as there is no "chimping" (looking at the back of my camera) for three.

I feel film is becoming a lost medium. Not because it is dying or not thriving in it's own right (it totally is, regardless of Chapter 11 filings). But because the digital camera is killing it. Killing it dead.

Bust out a twin lens reflex camera that you look down into to take photos and people will think you are from another planet. Unless they are your grandparents and then they get all chatty talkin about the good ole' days.

I am teaching at Brigham Young University this semester and besides a 4x5 class and an intro to black & white photography class, the students are not required to shoot color film in any capacity.

I'm out to change that.

I'm here to tell you, and this book is here to tell you, "the good ole' days" never went anywhere. And you know what? Thanks to companies like Kodak and the new films they have released like the new Portra line, "the good ole' days" are now "holy crapola mother flaming awesome good ole' days".

This 288 page book covers loading film, shooting film, metering film, cameras, DIY, and pretty much everything you need to know to get out and start shooting film, TODAY. And it is choked full of tutorials from how to load your film, to how to bleach your negs on Fuji FP-100C (yeah, I know geeky). And you might think to yourself, well, I don't want to read a how-to book. This is no how-to book. It is written as if you and I are sitting down at a table and speaking one on one.

To my knowledge, this book can be bought at any Barnes & Noble and hopefully very soon any and all Urban Outfitters. I am positive though it can be bought on Amazon and ships immediately HERE.

So why film? What is it about film that is so special or something I can't do digitally?

I think the answer lies in SLOWING DOWN. Film will FORCE you to slow down. You can't just pop off 1000 shots of your family hanging out playing Risk for 2 hours. Well, you can, it is just going to cost you a pretty penny. And because film is going to force you to slow down, it is also going to force you to start to think before you hit the shutter. Think about your exposures, think about your composition and most importantly, think about your voice and vision.

It is the most important thing you have as a photographer. It is what is going to set you apart from the 10000 new folks who just went out and got the best and brightest DLSR and now are shooting weddings. Your voice is what will set you apart. And film, in my opinion, helps you find that voice.

So weather you shoot film, digital, hell, if you don't shoot at all, take a look at the book. Can't afford the book? Go to Barnes & Noble and plop down and just read it. I promise it is easy to read. Kristen made sure it was not a choose your own adventure (though I fought her tooth and nail to make it such).

And to thank you for reading, I'm giving away a signed copy of said book.

Yep, the book with my chicken scratchings on it. And said winner will also get a pro-pack of Kodak film in the medium of their choice (35mm or 120).

How do you get the signed copy?

Go to good ole' FB, and post a comment on the FILM IS NOT DEAD page. Someone, will win a book. And magically, there might even be 2 winners. We'll see :).

Thanks for reading, and thank you for helping keep film alive.

Now head over to that FB page and ENTER!

Or don't and just get your copy HERE.


Emilia Jane said...

I just got my copy yesterday! Can't wait to read it all the way through!!! :-D

Rob Oresteen said...

Jonathan - time to head over to Barnes & Nobel...hope the book does well.


Suzyb said...

Hot damn I can't wait to get this book. So sad I didn't pre-order with rushed shipping or else I might have it tomorrow... :) Thanks Jon for sharing your knowledge and expertise, and for encouraging the world of professional photographers and artists to remember the value of craftsmanship. After shooting (family/baby/pregnancy/birth) digital for years I swear I'm going to puke if I see another tutorial floating around on facebook about how to photoshop your images to have depth of field or to make your baby's face look as smooth as plastic. I want to go back to my film roots from when I was in school and connect more with my camera, something I've lost touch with since starting my business. Again and again, thank you and can't wait to read the book! XO

Anonymous said...

I have had this on Pre order for aaaages and now amazon are refusing to ship this... getting kinda frustrated to be honest. I need my FIND Fix!

nanvan said...

Proud of you in a dorky parent way - I've admired your knowledge and style for a long time now - writing a book is well deserved and well timed. Best of luck to the success...

Chris Hutchison said...

Wonderful! I'm looking forward to reading this! I stumbled across your book on Amazon and found your blog and site as a result. I enjoyed looking at your work and the fact that you're doing all this with film.

Sarah said...

Congrats Jon, so very proud of you my friend. xo