Defining a Film Purist...

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by chris_antidote, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. What are the characteristics of a film purist? And do you think the film purist is a dying breed?
  2. I see this going badly. :) I use 99%film in many formats. I scan negatives and some say I am not a purest because I use a Hybrid workflow. I develop my own B&W film yet some say I am not a purist because I send out some color work. My guess is. I am as pure as I can be with what I have to work with.
  3. Someone who uses film cameras in preference to digi snappers, and possibly processes their own film and prints the negatives in a darkroom. They could use B&W, colour neg or transparency film.
    No, not a dying breed, as eventually everyone dies, including people who use the digi snappers.
  4. Yeah, I'm a dying-breed filmie as well. I've made several attempts at warming up to digital, and have a nice Pentax setup, but I'm still 90% film. I also do darkroom and process my own E-6, my walls are getting covered with homemade prints of various sizes. I love the smell of fixer in the evening, it smells like...rotten eggs and vinegar.
  5. When they open the refrigerator door they look at their film supplies first and then they look to see if there is any milk. The digi snapper just looks for beer.
  6. Dedicated fridge for film?
    (Which includes me in the definition. It's not full-sized, however.)
    On the other hand, I'm a digital darkroom person, I scan the processed negatives. The wet print darkroom was always frustrating to me.
  7. Hand up... I'm probably considered a black and white film purist, however, I don't wet print any more, I just make negatives on the Hasselblads, soup and store them. At the moment I do nothing with them. Color is digital and will continue that way as far as I see.
  8. Uses words like "digi-snapper".
  9. I also think that the "magic" of photography has a lot to do with a light sensitive emulsion. There is a sense that you captured something more real. And when illuminated through light creates a beauty that a processed image that was captured on a sensor can't recreate. I think a purist understands that to a degree, and is more aware of the longevity of photograph through film.
  10. Dedicated fridge? An eight cu ft freezer works better, stores lots of film and 16x20 B&W and colour paper as well. :)
  11. the "magic" of photography has a lot to do with a light sensitive emulsion... ...something more real... ...a sensor can't recreate... ...I think a purist understands that...​
    "Uses words like "digi-snapper"" or makes unfounded statements about what others accomplish or understand. A film enthusiast, in contrast, enjoys using the film process to achieve objectives without harboring attitude towards other people's methods.
  12. I think purists in any field often get caught up in the process rather than having more concern with the results. With photography, if the picture doesn't grab the viewer, no one really cares how you made it. In fact, even if it does grab the viewer, that don't really care either. Purity resides with the shooter not the viewer.
  14. digi snappers​
    Is digi snapper the new whipper snapper? For as much film that goes through my cameras, I am not a purist. I'm open to any medium that gets the job done. Film purists for the sake of the medium are probably already dead, because they're not open to using new mediums to express themselves.
  15. I think film purists believe that film is the purest format to record images in. I would class myself as one of those - film has just one artefact (if exposed correctly) - grain, which just so happens to be quite an artistic artefact in itself.
    But I wouldn't say a purist is not open to using new mediums - it's just they believe that film is the purist's choice. Last year I shot a wedding with an F6 and a D3. I shot way more on the digital, and to be fair, it captured images in lower light without any fuss. However, I still think the film shots had far more depth and beauty to them.
  16. I'm not a purist anything. I'm a photographer who happens to enjoy working with film and the traditional darkroom rituals. I also use a hybrid workflow, as Larry described. And I shoot a lot of digital.
    The real purists, if such a breed exists, brew their own light sensitive materials and coat their own glass plates or film and paper. Film, as we know it, was to the "real photography" of the late 19th and early 20th century as digital is to film in the late 20th and early 21st century. The carte de visite replaced daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes. The cabinet card replaced the carte de visite as a format that popularized photography, and was itself replaced by Kodak's pre-loaded cameras.
    It's easy to be a purist without context or history. Until we discover many of the materials we hold sacred were once considered inferior or "too easy" by an earlier generation of purists. Some digital photographers seem to think their craft would be more "pure" if only cameras offered less automation and features.
  17. I'm reminded of an article I read recently in a magazine where the author blasted the "kids these days" for not knowing anything about light, composition, f-stop, the subtleties of making a picture... that they weren't "real photographers" with their little boxes held in front of their faces. If this line of arguing sounds familiar, it's because we hear it all the time: now that it's so easy to make a picture, nobody looks or thinks twice about it... and these were all brought up.
    If you want to read this article, it's called "Photography's Worst Enemy" and was written in 1908.
  18. Nothing ever changes except those speaking about change. :)
  19. I told myself I would never contribute to yet another film vs digital thread because it has all been hashed over so many times before that it is becoming sickening. I am only going to make a quick reply to this to make a point that has not been mentioned here. THE CAMERA. My number one reason when I use film is because I so much more enjoy using the CAMERA than a modern digital SLR. I have both a Canon 5D MkII and a old Minolta X700 35mm SLR. I will often use the Minolta instead of the Canon simply because of the pure pleasure of using the old camera. Even with my bad eyes, I can manually focus the Minolta to perfection, which I cannot begin to do with the Canon. I love having an actual dial with numbers on it for shutter speed and being able to adjust the aperture on the lens where it should be. I can put on my wide angle lens, set the hyperfocal distance at f8 and shoot without even worrying about focus. The motor drive on the camera makes the most beautiful CLACK sound between each frame. The camera is over 30 years old and performs like a new one and probably will for another 30 years, (not that I will be around). The Canon, while a nice camera that takes fantastic photos, feels in comparison like a video toy that will be lucky to make it for a decade.
    So bottom line, to me it is not really a film vs digital thing per se. To me, it is a film camera vs a digital camera issue. If a manufacturer would produce a digital camera with a full frame sensor without all the silly garbage and video and such, with simple controls like on an old film SLR, .... then I would likely not use film again, .... well except for my pinhole camera!
  20. I use the world "digi snapper" all the time because I have a D200. From the very beginning I thought it was a snapping machine. So if I am going to grab it as we leave the house I usually will say something like, "wait a second while I grab the digi snapper". However of course as time goes along the camera's snap off photos even faster with ever more features that make a poor exposure less likely.
    I shoot film also but I am not a film purist or anything. Just somebody that takes pictures of family, vacations and hobby pictures.
  21. I really didn't have any intentions of this turning into a film vs digital thread.

    I should have known better, though. Here's what it comes down to. Film is a mature medium, it's had hundreds of years to get where it's at. Today you have more dynamic range, better color tonality, and overall film has got personality. Digital is a still a baby, however, it's here to stay. It's still very young though and I can only see it getting better as companies revaluate what makes photography great and how to integrate that into processors. Because let's face it, digital still lacks those traits, great dynamic range, color tonality depth, suffers from moire, and yes, has no personality.

    I find so much comfort in having a film camera, I know I'm not going to get rid of it in 4 years to "trade up" to the next big digital camera." I'm not getting something new, looking for a digital camera with better film traits.
    <br>And here's the thing, You could call me old fashion, but I'm not old. I just turned 26. I grew up shooting digital. In fact, I used to say things like, "film is dead." I've pushed digital to it's limits. Buying a good film camera and never looking back has been the best thing to happen to me. It was the key ingredient that my photography was lacking. A year later, I'm represented by an art gallery and getting interviewed.

    Everyone today has that internal battle going on in their heads, should I shoot film or digital. and unless you figure out the questions which are important to you, you'll never truly know those answers.
  22. I think it's so nice and refreshing to read these positive comments about film. But I don't see so many purists around here: everyone (including myself) uses mainly film for shooting but does not have anything against taking some pictures from time to time with a digital camera. Or to scan negatives or slides.
    I believe that's the main difference with the largest part of digital users: they slam film no matter what, while we can praise the positive features of digital.
  23. Everyone today has that internal battle going on in their heads, should I shoot film or digital. and unless you figure out the questions which are important to you, you'll never truly know those answers.​
    No, not everyone today does not have an 'internal battle going on in their heads'. As I said earlier, you're making unfounded statements about what others accomplish or understand.
    I believe that's the main difference with the largest part of digital users: they slam film no matter what,​
    Largest part? Seriously?
    Another unfounded statement about others. Plus, the hypocrisy of criticizing 'slamming' behavior in the very same sentence featuring it.
    This isn't a film vs. digital thread. Its worse. Its a film user vs. digital user thread.
  24. I thought this thread was going fine even though I stated in my first statement I figured it would go bad. Well some of you did not let me down. Photography is not Ivory soap and even it is not pure.
  25. I thought this thread was going fine even though I staterd in my first statement I figured it would go bad. Well some of you did not let me down. Photography is not Ivory soap and even it is not pure.​
    It seems almost inevitable. Any reference to "the other ones" is taken very badly: even because "they" are reading and listening and replying...
    (I am half joking of course.. :) )
  26. What 1/2? :)
  27. Everyone today has that internal battle going on in their heads, should I shoot film or digital.​
    No internal battle here. Film for me.
  28. At the moment I have a battle going on. It is 400 feet of ORWO N74+ I will fight it until I get the results I know it is worthy of and I will use every tool and developer I can to get it right... Then when someone ask or looks up how to develop it in other than D96 at a set shutter speed I can say... I am still not a purist. :)
  29. Any reference to "the other ones" is taken very badly​
    It wasn't enough to bash "the largest part of digital users" falsely accusing with the claim "they slam film no matter what." Now the false accusation is portrayed as merely any ole' reference of others. Bashing (falsely again) further against those bashed by portraying THEM as unreasonable.
    A bashing purist.
  30. You al should be ashamed of yourself for not advancing the Alchemy.. :) There is no Church to hold you down you can turn a stone to gold.. you though decided to pick a fight that is not even a fight... Shoot and develop what you want. Produce it anyway you want to.. and never ever forget 1/2 tones... :)
    I feel sometime as the crazy guy I am the only voice of reason... Lord if you folks ever let me down I doubt I could live in the world of depression you have... :)
  31. Nothing but techno drivel with people attempting to justify their choice of working media - as if that really matters. None of what has been written has anything to do with taking interesting photographs - it never does. Processes are only a means to an end - not the end in itself. Quit making process the holy grail of photography - process is only the means to an end - do you people understand that?
  32. "Quit making process the holy grail of photography"
    I bet Ansel Adams would laugh at Steve for that remark. His whole idea of photography was a visual and a darkroom process. It's all a process, a process he would compare to orchestrating a symphony.
  33. I always laugh as I see nothing serious but people who just cant get a grip on their art but love to hold their tools tight. and this is from a guy who is 99% film.
  34. I bet Ansel Adams would laugh at Steve for that... It's all a process, a process he would compare to...​
    Claiming to know what goes on in the mind of "everyone" wasn't enough. Now its knowing what dead people would think too. Ansel Adams actually laughing at people for thinking results matter.
  35. I shoot B&W film with several different 35mm cameras. I love playing alchemist trying my best to perfect the craft. I'm a film purist when using film (but I like my digitals too. ) Doesn't make me a bad person ;>
  36. "I bet Ansel Adams would laugh at Steve for that remark. His whole idea of photography was a visual and a darkroom process."
    Steve before he died he also made the statement that the electronic image would be the future. (crudely paraphrased) Many film shooters scan and at that point a symphony can begin as well.
  37. Well after trying digital for 5 years after using film for 25 years and finally giving up, to me it just plain looks wrong, so these days I only use tri-x, only print in a wet darkroom and could not be happier, just love the craft process of film.
    Don't know if that makes me a film purist, to me that probably means someone who makes their own plates and all that malarky.
    I personally am thrilled by digital coming along, I now have a Rolleiflex 6006 outfit and a Sinar p, neither of which I could afford before all the pros rushed off to digital land. Also bought two top class 4x5 enlargers for less than $80 each, Wonderful.
  38. "Processes are only a means to an end - not the end in itself. Quit making process the holy grail of photography - process is only the means to an end..."​
    That's debatable as well. Don't underestimate the value of process for its own sake.
    Most of my home baking from scratch could easily be replaced with ready-baked foods or very simple mixes and produce goodies that are just as delicious as my own. Some packages for baking muffins, cornbread, pancakes and waffles cost only a dollar or two and may require nothing more than water to prepare - and they taste as good as anything I bake from scratch. I use 'em when I'm in a hurry.
    I spend time - probably too much time - baking from scratch because I enjoy the process. It's relaxing, and takes my mind of my aching (back/neck/knees/etc.). Only occasionally does it produce something unique that's not easily duplicated from ready mixes, or the corner store's bakery. My family, friends and neighbors always seem to enjoy what I bake way out of proportion to how good it actually tastes. And if they're just being polite and humoring me, that's okay too. I suspect most of my photography elicits similarly polite "Humor him, you know how temperamental those artistes are" responses.
    Same with film and the darkroom. I enjoy the process for its own sake. The enjoyment of process is unassailable... other than by accountants and efficiency experts who would have us justify anything and everything that doesn't produce on the correct side of the ledger. When we underrate process we force ourselves to defend the indefensible. That's why these debates invariably fail to be resolved.
  39. I for one didn't really enjoy the 'wet' darkroom. I managed to reach the heights of mediocrity in b/w printing (no false modesty). Color? Fuhgeddaboutit! ("Roll roll roll the print, gently in the tube/ Verily verily verily verily, I am such a boob.") I do, however, second the comment above--I love my film CAMERAS! I wish there was a digital module for my F100 and F4e. Film cameras also give me the opportunity to use my older lenses on "full frame"; i.e., the angle of view at which they were intended to be used.
  40. "Processes are only a means to an end - not the end in itself. Quit making process the holy grail of photography - process is only the means to an end..."​
    You know I can achieve satisfactory photos with any camera. Since it's a hobby I think the process of the photo is the fun part.. The camera, film or sensor, the trip, finding the shot and then a nice print at the end of it all.
  41. I would not know if I am a film purist. I shoot 99% film. I only have 1 digital P&S the old and lowly Nikon Coolpix 5000. I have may be 20 or so 35mm SLR. I intend to continue using film until I can't any more. I think I would still be alive the day (and I am in the late 50's) I can't use film any more so I don't know what is a dying breed. Nothing against digital, just that I want the use film and my many film cameras until I can't anymore.
  42. Interesting video on CNN about photography/Film.
  43. Thanks, Chris. Really enjoyed that!
  44. Nice film. I enjoyed it.
  45. Purist? As in someone who intentionally limits himself? Yuck. Who'd want to do that?
    I love film, and I love digital, but I use them in different situations. Many times, I shoot both in one shoot.
    For me, a purist is a snob who's gotten stuck in a rut, and damns others for not doing as they do. I can respect someone who wants to master just one medium, but for me a purist is someone who thinks they are actually better than others because he is "pure" to some ridiculous standard that he made up for himself.
  46. I would have no problem only shooting 1 format. Most of my life I only owned 1 camera at a time. My wife bought me the D200 when they were the new thing and now I have two camera's. However I only need 1 camera actually. When 1 of these cameras break I will just shoot the other one whatever that may be. I think the F100 will outlast the D200 but you never know. All I need to do is take some nice photos of the family, vacations and some scenic shots to hang on the walls. Anyway even if I only had one camera I would not be a purist. I would just be an average guy with 1 camera.
  47. Ross,
    Didn't Confucius say,
    "A man with one watch knows the time. A man with two watches is never sure."​
  48. I think it was Confusionus who never said "It's 500 BC. Where did this digital watch come from?"
  49. I think Confucius had a Rolex back in the day. He was a man ahead of his times. However on another thought I never get the same reading with 2 lightmeters. It just gets confusing so I make a point of only using the one in my camera.
  50. I'd say the camera argument was what kept me doing film (it was the EOS 5D versus the F6), and I dare say I'd be shooting digital now if the D700 had been available. However, I get such good results with the F6, that it would take a lot more than a D700 now to remove the F6 from my hands!
  51. One whom uses only film and never scans them on a computer
    by which the resulting image would have become
  52. I guess now that Kodak made the announcement that they are sticking with film and phasing out digital you might find a film purist with those folks that are grinning from ear to ear.
  53. I am grinning but it is still early. So I will not be holding my breath until 2013.

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