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Thread: Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

  1. #1
    Meat Robot Jay Decker's Avatar
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    Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

    A young man was in my office yesterday. He looked at portraits hanging on the wall, which were taken with a Petzval lens, view camera, and 8x10 film. He asked me why the photographs looked so "different", I told him, and he said to me that he thought "alternative photography" was awesome.

    Is film photography "alternative" now?
    Jay Decker

    jaydecker.com


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  2. #2
    Salt Nerd
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    Re: Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

    1 Billion to acquire Instagram. Yes, I'd say film-based photography is pretty alternative. Within *this small group* on LFF...clearly 'Alternative Photography' means something a little different.
    Michael Slade

  3. #3
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

    I heard today on the news that is 12 times the value of Kodak.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

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  4. #4
    dpn's Avatar
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    I agree wholeheartedly with the OP.

  5. #5
    Michael Alpert
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    Re: Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

    Your portraits were likely called "alternative" because you use a Petzval lens. I don't think film has much to do with it. The contemporary use of Petzval lenses is clearly an alternative to more mainstream sharp-focused photography.

  6. #6

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    Re: Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

    Michael is perhaps correct about the role of film in this instance. However, without doubt, film capture has a unique look.

    In a recent interview, Nick Brandt made an observation about film: "There continues to be an indefinable, impossible to quantify magic, that occasionally happens with the interplay of light and negative. Oftentimes, it's actually the imperfections that give you this indefinable, magical quality."

    He concludes with this: "I bought a Hasselblad 60 megapixel H4, took it to Africa, and began photographing with it alongside my film camera. I found the results deeply disappointing. There was a kind of perfection to the images that I didn't like, a sort of sterility and an overly-clinical quality that just didn't work with the sensibility that I was after. For what I'm doing, and in black-white, I really didn't like it. I returned to shooting what is now, crazily impractical, film."

    I am in total agreement with his observation of the "magic" that occasionally happens with the interplay of light and negative.

  7. #7
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

    Quote Originally Posted by dpn View Post
    I agree wholeheartedly with the OP.
    But he asked a question rather than making a statement!


    Steve.

  8. #8
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

    According to a Pew Research study, DSLRs may become "alternative process," as 76% of cell phone users are more likely to use a cell phone for their photographs rather than a camera.

    With all of the comments I get about my film cameras, yeah, modern film is "alternative process."

    (OT: As for the Instagram price, it's really cheap when you consider how many users the service has. How that translates to revenue, I'm guessing advertising, of course.)
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  9. #9

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    Re: Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Merg Ross View Post
    In a recent interview, Nick Brandt made an observation about film: "There continues to be an indefinable, impossible to quantify magic, that occasionally happens with the interplay of light and negative. Oftentimes, it's actually the imperfections that give you this indefinable, magical quality."
    ...which I would take more seriously if he didn't photoshop bad imitation wet-plate artifacts onto his images to get that indefineable, magical quality:

    Last edited by Mark Sawyer; 12-Apr-2012 at 00:30.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  10. #10

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    Re: Is film photography "alternative photography" yet?

    Well, film and carbon printing are my alternatives of choice...

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