Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Film Photography: Old But Not Outdated

Over the years I’ve done some digging into my family tree and discovered while I’m mostly of German/Polish descent, upon further investigation, I realized there is also some dinosaur running through my veins, too.  I’m not sure of the type -- definitely not T-Rex with my gangling arms, but… okay, now I’m just pulling your arm, I mean leg.  

I call myself a dinosaur because I tend to cling to dated or out-of-fashion ways of doing things. For instance, as a writer I naturally LOVE the written word. I devour stories like they were a box of bonbons.  Sometimes I become so engrossed in a plot that the characters begin to feel like old friends.  I remember going through a period of mourning when I finished the Harry Potter series. I wanted to stay at Hogwarts just a little while longer. I think anyone who is an active reader can empathize with feeling connected with a story. However, unlike most, I’ve failed to hop on the Kindle train.  I know digital devices are handy and convenient, but when reading I prefer to feel the weight of a book in my hands and hear the rustle of paper as I plow through a storyline.  I have similar feelings about letter writing. In an age where public schools are vastly removing cursive from the curriculum, I concede there is still joy to be had in receiving a happy birthday text or email for a job well done.  However, I will always prefer sending and receiving handwritten snail mail.  For me, there’s a bit of a thrill that comes from seeing a colorful envelope in an old friend’s penmanship among the bills and junk mail.  

Recently, I’ve discovered my preference for dying arts also extends to film photography.   About a month ago, my family had a photo session with Natalie Ulrich.  It had been about 18 months since she had last taken our photos.  When I set up our appointment, Natalie shared that she had made some changes to her business – mainly that she had switched from digital to film photography. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I figured it was simply a choice she made in the tools she used to produce her work. I never considered there would be a noticeable difference in the results.  Imagine my surprise when I began comparing the photos she had taken of our family with her digital camera against those she took recently using film.  While I love all the photos -- I simply prefer those taken using her vintage film camera.  For me, the skin tones seem more natural and creamy.  The colors, textures and details in our hair and clothing more vibrant and authentic. 
So, although I prefer the images that film photography can produce, I will continue to enjoy using my digital camera.  But, seeing these photos – it’s clear while film may be an old way of doing things, there is nothing outdated about its results.

Natalie Ulrich Photography: digital (left) vs. film

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