First blog post on the new Website - here goes! So recently I've been REALLY getting into the idea of using film for more of my work. I've dabbled in quite a bit of B&W 35mm stuff since i started out - using my lovely Olympus Trip 35, my Olympus OM10's and most recently shooting a variety of film stocks on my AMAZING Ricoh FF-70 point-and-shoot cameras.
I have had some cool results and enjoy the simplicity of it all - the really retro feel, the noisy mirror slaps and clunky shutters, the rewind noises, the minimal buttons, and the 'wish me luck' feeling these cameras give when taking your next frame. More than all of that though, I love the excitement of not knowing what those pictures are really like, until they are developed and you have something tangible in your hands. It's a group of feelings that digital photography and what goes with it will struggle to ever give you.
Am i turning anti digital?
Definitely not! I still love digital and it firmly has a place in my life, my work and my kit bag.
The problem is, I've kinda hit a wall when it comes to digital photography. I've had more than my fair share of cameras , lenses and equipment, and currently own one of Sony's best cameras to date - the Sony A7iii - which paired up with my Zeiss glass is truly spectacular. It really is amazing and makes shooting Weddings or anything else for that matter, an absolute breeze. But the point here is though, it can sometimes be a little TOO easy.
I also find at times the process after shooting digital rather frustrating; where I upload the images to my Mac, add them to Adobe Lightroom and run a few film profiles on the images and voila! All done before you know it but with very little satisfaction. I also find with the Sony, i'm very trigger happy and find myself with an absolute barrage of photos which becomes a little overwhelming, at times. Sometimes when there are so many, they feel like 'just' pictures...which is not what I got into photography for! I love photography because I get the chance to express myself through my art.
This is another reason why film is becoming even more appealing to me. From the film images I have taken in the past, I've had such fun taking them alongside physically being forced to wait until I can see how they have turned out. It almost gives you a little buzz of excitement every-time you load, shoot and remove a roll of film. So this has got me thinking... Why not take this up a notch and try something different! Why not push myself to 'work smarter'? Then I got thinking about medium format film. Why not give medium format film a try and run it alongside your digital work? So that's what I did! I traded in my spare Sony camera body (the Sony A7ii) and proceeded to replace it with a gorgeous(in its own way!) Mamiya 645 Pro TL, coupled with a Mamiya Sekor C 80mm f/2.8 N lens, plain prism finder and 120 film back. This thing is an absolute beast!!! A real far cry from the mirrorless cameras I've been using for the past 4-5 years. It's such a heavy lump, but it feels incredibly reassuring with how big it is. Definitely a marmite sort of camera!
Now my current digital workflow consists of using Mastin Labs film presets, which are amazing for fetching out those film-esque tones in images and what counts toward the finished 'look' of the vast majority of my wedding and portrait images. I particularly like running the Fuji 400H and Fuji 160N actions over my images, with the odd time using Portra and pushed Portra to create some fairly close replicas of their true film counterparts. The hope with using the Mamiya, is that I can blend both the film and the digital together using the same film stocks as the actions I use with my digital workflow (and some B&W!) to have a leaner process, and to cut down on so.much.editing! More time thinking things through, and less time editing. All that while keeping my images looking consistent. I think i'm already sold on the challenge! So my first images on my new Mamiya have been sent off for developing, so hopefully they come out OK.
First roll was a bit of a test in some old Konica Minolta 400 which was already loaded when I got the camera, and a couple of rolls of my favourite Fuji 400H went as well which are a mix of family photos, and a few test shots from a recent wedding. I must admit, I'm nervous but equally excited to get them back. I really hope its the sort of thing I've been looking for! I'll post them up on the blog once developed and scanned..
Hoping this little change really adds to my workflow in the future....I need some spark back! Thanks for reading and feel free to register your details and subscribe to keep up to date with what i've been up to :) Kiel - Murphy Photographic