Film Matters

We now return to our regularily scheduled programming …
Alex Shishin proposed a Leica film month for June on photo.net (and caught some flak for his troubles from digigraphers). Essentially, if you choose to accept this mission, you will use film in your old Leica for the month of June. The message didn’t self-destruct.
I’m game, and there’s no hardship involved. For one, I don’t have a digital rangefinder any longer. I sold my Epson RD-1 when I got my Leica MP. That was a conscious decision to go back to film. I’ve written about why film matters to me. There’s no antagonism towards cameras like the Leica M8 or M9, they’re fine, if a bit pricey. It’s just that I don’t like the workflow that follows.
I see the whole process from the intended end product backwards, and in my case that’s a Pd-Pt-print more often than not, lately. There are steps involved that happen at the computer, I’m no Luddite. I don’t mind scanning the film, I enjoy the effortless manipulation of tones and contrast possible with layers and layer masks in Photoshop and I’m relieved when my Epson 2400 printer deigns to put down a digital negative without faults.
Plus, and that bears repeated emphasis, I need film grain. It’s like an Aquatinta screen in Intalgio printing. It actually fosters tone perception and vividness and saves an image from being too smooth, too artificial.

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