To Film or Not To Film


After a couple of days of shooting without any results I loved, I thought I would do a post about film and digital mediums from my own perspective in the meantime.

I was first introduced to film photography as a youngster in a small town middle school in Olive Branch Mississippi. It was only by happenstance that my shop teacher was also the school photographer and had created a dark room closet in the wood working shop to develop his photos for the school’s yearbook.

While the other students made shelves and primitive furniture Mr. Burton recognised my keen interest in photography and soon had me rolling his 35mm canisters with a daylight loader during class hours. From there and after many more hours of assisting in the darkroom I was given free reign to use it for myself. Which in looking back now was a pretty great opportunity for a thirteen year old.

My mom had gotten me a 35mm Olympus and I was trying, through trial and error, to figure out aperture, f-stop, and film speed combinations. Though some years later my Olympus had fallen into ruin through teenage neglect and I purchased a Nikon D-90 and began my venture into the land of digital.

Digital did one great thing for me. It provided an infinite number of photos with which to teach myself, through trial and error, how to make a good exposure. This was really the turning point because now I could make thousands of mistakes in a single day delete the photos and start all over at absolutely no cost.

Now decades later I’ve come back to film photography with a ton more knowledge on how to make good exposures and a love and nostalgia for film that evokes memories of Mississippi childhood days.

I’ll often take both my Pentax SuperME and my Nikon out and switch back and forth. Every time I switch to the Pentax and push the shutter release it feels great. It has weight and a satisfying mechanical simplicity that just can’t be replicated. Then when I switch back to my Nikon D-7000 and I have all the freedom to take risks expose in unconventional ways and have the reassurance I’m not burning through film.

For me Digital is my concept platform. It’s where I make mistakes, where I try new angles, new compensations, new anything. Film is where I go to capture something really important that I’m sure about. When I have a complete idea of what I want and I want it on a tangible medium. It’s a platform for confidence and intentional action.

There is no better medium. There’s digital and there’s film. Why not use everything, why limit yourself, why not have all the tools you can? No boxes for me. Film, digital, I’ll take it all!


11 thoughts on “To Film or Not To Film

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