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Turning A Negative Into A Positive

Like many photographers my age, I first picked up a camera in the pre-digital days. Back then I owned a fully manual Prakitca. Not the most exciting of cameras, but it was a sturdy workhorse, taught me the basics, and even if it didn't have the same kudos as better known brands, it was cheap, all I could afford at the time and did the job.

Whilst now I'm primarily a digital photographer, I do turn back to film photography on a regular basis. Why? After all digital photography is so much more convenient. The danger lies in the convenience offered by the digital process could make you a lazy photographer. You can instantly see if the shot is any good and if it isn't just take another one, and another, and another, and one more for good luck. Knowing how easy it is to edit your images, you may fall into the trap of thinking "that'll do, I'll fix that in the edit" or even worse trying to turn an average shot into something special by over-processing it with high contracts and over saturated colours (my pet hate!)

Shooting with film however makes you think about every shot. I mean really think. It's unlikely you'll have the luxury of shooting countless images in the hope one will work, nor do you have the option to view the image immediately. Whilst you can still edit your pictures, the process is no way as quick, easy or convenient as it is in Lightroom or Snapped.

Film photography requires a more subtle approach, and certainly when I shot with film I usually just have one camera, one lens, and perhaps one spare roll of film. These limitations help focus my mind, forces me to be more creative when composing and exposing an image. But perhaps more importantly it helps me accept that I may not always get the shot I want. This can prove to be a good learning experience but also it is quite liberating. In fact I find this an important life lesson, accepting life as it is, making the best of the situation before you, and learning from your experience.

That's why, every so often I love turning back to film photography and literally turn negatives into positives.

The following images are homemade contact sheet images from a previous trip out with my film camera.

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