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Yet Another WDISF Post

Yes, this is another ‘why do I shoot film’ post, and no, the answers are not ‘because it slows me down’, ‘because it connects me to the act of taking pictures’, ‘because I love the unique feeling of analogue images’, ‘because the inherent limitations of a film camera inspire creativity’, ‘why not?’ or any of the other common (and perfectly legitimate) reasons usually associated with the question.

In addition, the wide range of post-processing options available to make a digital image look like an analogue one, even in terms of film emulsion, satisfies the need to produce an image with the ‘personality’ of a specific film. So, even the idea that ‘true film’ looks better is not factually correct.

So, why do I shoot film? Bear with me for a while.

Would this photo be better if taken with a digital camera and a modern lens? By all means!

Rome, Fontana di Trevi, Chiesa dei Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio

The same can be said for this one:

Rome, Fontana di Trevi, via Poli

Taking this picture with a digital camera wouldn’t have added much to the final result.

A starter, before letting the runners go at the European Athletic Master championships

And thanks to a non-modern camera and film (a Ferrania Orto) there is no need to go digital to achieve the overall retro look of this picture.

A side alley in Tokyo, Asakusa district

So, to sum up all this musing: why do I shoot film?

Here is the answer: because when I want pictures to look like they were taken with a film camera, I use a film camera, and when I want pictures to look like they were taken with a digital camera, I use a digital camera.

Sure, digital camera and post-production software allows you to have the best of both worlds (the ease of taking good pictures and the ability to make them look ‘different’). The end result is almost comparable to ‘old school’ pictures, but ‘almost’ is exactly the answer to the question ‘why do I shoot film’.

‘Almost’ is not ‘exactly’.

‘Almost’ is not enough.

‘Almost’ works when you need to meet the demands of a work schedule.

But ‘almost’ has nothing to do with coherence and expression. Whatever you say, dressing up a digital image to look like an analogue one does not really make it the same. And since my way of shooting is to stay as true to the final image (mind: I said ‘image’ not ‘reality’) as possible, I simply use the tool that suits the specific needs of the moment, whether professional or personal.

I am not saying that it is wrong or cheating to manipulate digital images to look like analogue ones.

I simply chose to call a rose by its name, because calling it by another one would not make it smell as sweet.

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