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19 hours ago, adan said:

I find it - amusing - that anyone would think film type - or even film vs. digital, would somehow imply some "decade." As if a decade had a "look" photographically. I think this mostly amounts to "fantasy nostalgia" - "fantasy" because it is nostalgia from people who possibly didn't even experience those decades.

 

I hope that you are joking! There is a huge difference in character from colour film images vs (un-manipulated) digital, which is particularly large when comparing results from cheaper consumer grade films. Just the grain alone as well as the inherent reduction in resolving power of the film is substantial, not to mention how the film responds to over/under exposure etc.

In my case I was looking to produce contrasting tourist snapshots - explicitly not professional grade images shot with the best quality cameras and film. The 80’s style would come from the combination of rendering and the choice of subject matter, with the aim of visually framing how tourism affects a city. It would use old Minolta consumer lenses either mounted on a film body or adapted to Leica digital. Having just digitised an archive of such images from the 70’s through to the 90’s I want to match the results precisely.

 

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Popping back into the thread to relay another experience.

In the mid 2000s I shot a fair bit of film, especially on interstate and overseas trips. My main cameras were a pocket digital and a pocket film camera, so anything from a Canon S70 to G10, with a Contax T3, Fuji Natura Black or Zeiss Ikon (which brought me to the Leica experience). As much as I enjoy the convenience, cleanness and flexibility of digital, my film days were some of my most photographically enjoyable. I returned from a trip to China with multiple gigabytes of digital images and video, but also with at least one roll of film per day for two weeks. Same with going to Hong Kong - as much as I love the digital images taken with my M9 in later trips, there's something intangibly fun and 'unique' about the film images I took. They are imperfect and organic, which contributes to their sense of being a 'memory' rather than a capture.

But again, I couldn't shoot only film. I shoot way too much for this to be financially viable or logistically convenient. My personal shooting is as much about daily documentation as anything, so there's a lot of dreck which would be wasted on film.

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13 hours ago, Mark II said:

I hope that you are joking! There is a huge difference in character from colour film images vs (un-manipulated) digital, which is particularly large when comparing results from cheaper consumer grade films.

Oh, there is certainly a difference between unmanipulated digital and film.

I  just, quite seriously, question the idea that manipulating digital - especially at the simplistic level of throwing in some grain and maybe some saturation changes - works as some kind of time machine. (Except at the extremes - Ko.Fe. manages to take us back to 1826, more or less ;) )

If that were true, my little quiz would be easy for anyone to answer. (BTW all my quiz-pix are 35mm format, with gear that was generally below the Pro level for its era - and, in keeping with this thread's title - only film (that's a hint) and generally consumer film, available in any drugstore of the era (another hint).)

If you are talking about differences due to skill level or sophistication of seeing, or avoidance thereof (vernacular photography), that hardly depends on any particular emulsion look. There exist millions of vernacular pictures (unsophisticated tourist and family snaps) made with Kodachrome and Leicas, for example. Or with medium-format Rolleis or Yashicas or folding Agfas on a variety of films. Or (virtually grainless) Polaroids. I suffered through quite a few "here I am in front of the Eiffel Tower" grainless-Kodachrome slide-shows, even in the 1980s.

Just seems to me you have a narrow vision about what 1980s (or any other decade's) photography really looked like, and keep trying to call that narrow vision "80s-style" - when it isn't recognizable as such to anyone who was there, or has actually studied the era's photographic habits.

 

 

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4 hours ago, adan said:

f you are talking about differences due to skill level or sophistication of seeing, or avoidance thereof (vernacular photography), that hardly depends on any particular emulsion look. There exist millions of vernacular pictures (unsophisticated tourist and family snaps) made with Kodachrome and Leicas, for example. Or with medium-format Rolleis or Yashicas or folding Agfas on a variety of films. Or (virtually grainless) Polaroids. I suffered through quite a few "here I am in front of the Eiffel Tower" grainless-Kodachrome slide-shows, even in the 1980s

Maybe in the US, but not here in Spain. Most of the cameras and films that you name were luxury items well beyond the means of most people.

4 hours ago, adan said:

Just seems to me you have a narrow vision about what 1980s (or any other decade's) photography really looked like, and keep trying to call that narrow vision "80s-style" - when it isn't recognizable as such to anyone who was there, or has actually studied the era's photographic habits.

As someone who was actively photographing in the 80's I find this rather offensive. The "narrow vision" seems more appropriate for those that lack the vision or will to approach projects differently to others.

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6 hours ago, Mark II said:

Most of the cameras and films that you name were luxury items well beyond the means of most people.

...and yet you say you are trying to replicate their pictures (or "the look" of their pictures) with a Leica M7 or M10. Or a Minolta X-700 - hardly a "bottom-of-the-barrel" camera. Plus €300+ (three times the price of a consumer P&S, then or now, film or digital) for C1.

Seems like a contradiction, right there.

But anyway, enjoy your project.

 

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I am using adapted lenses and running test films to find the look that I need - trying to get the results I need with the resources that I have available. And surprisingly I have researched what kinds of equipment were common here, in a period where Spain was still emerging from a dictatorship and rapidly opening up towards Europe.

You are as far as I know a good photographer with a lot of experience and knowledge, but I wonder if you realise that your responses in this thread come across as rather arrogant and insulting. This site is generally good at encouraging people to work on their photography and I encourage anyone posting to work towards that aim.

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Well, Mark, you aren't the first to tell me that - and I'm sure you won't be the last. So long as people like my pictures and buy them, whether they like me or not is, frankly, not high on my list of priorities.

The picture below was made with what is reportedly Peter Karbe's "least-favorite Leica lens ever." Nevertheless, I happily put my opinion of a lens above that of Leica's chief optical designer - that's pretty arrogant, right there.

If it makes you feel any better, there's an old newsroom joke that "editors always think everything tastes better if they pee in it." Well, I've been an editor and worked with editors - and maybe that slips out sometimes.

However, one thing I learned long ago in this cosa nostra ("thing of ours") is that the least important component of great photographs is the "stuff" behind the shutter. And in most cases (dare I say this on a Leica forum?) everything between the lens cap and the eyepiece. What is in front of the lens, and what goes on behind the eyepiece, are far more important. Putting style and technique and "stuff" above content is a dead-end road.

You mentioned "authenticity" earlier. I like it. Today's world is too full of "phony" and "fake" as it is. When I decided to makes square 6x6 pictures, I got a Hasselblad (pretty cheap these days) because it produces negs just a little bit smaller than other 6x6 cameras, and so I could scan them with the authentic, natural black borders included, instead of pasting something on in Photoshop. That pretty much extends to everything else: I stick with the "nature of the medium." If that is film, it should look like film - if it is digital, it should look like digital.

Maybe that comes from growing up in the business when photographs still somewhat had to "look like a painting" to be considered Art. Phooey!

And (strictly personal preference here) I don't see a lot of value in photographing in 2019 and pretending it was some other year. Let the past bury its dead. I try to cope with the world as it is today and will be tomorrow. Now perhaps that seems weird from someone using a 1980s lens to photograph 2019. But I don't see the lens's "look" as especially "1980s" one way or the other. It just does a nice job of capturing 2019 as 2019.

M10, 75 Summilux at f/1.4

 

 

 

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I definitely agree that style and technique above content is unwise, however anyone undertaking an extended project inevitably must have some idea of these things if the project is to be coherent.

I am currently finishing off a long term documentary project looking at aspects of populism. Although it is first and foremost a documentary project, it was shot on film with the aim of deliberately recalling historical images connected to the events of today (in this case, history is literally repeating itself). This has been really hard, because it also needed corresponding scenes and framing to back that up - which needs a lot of luck when photographing things outside of your control. There was also a desire to have real negatives as a comment against photoshop and "fake news". But in the final set there are two images that were impossible for me to shoot on film (ISO, extreme focal-length), and which are processed to look as close as possible to the film images. But I have been very tempted to shoot real film images from clean digital prints, not only to match the film rendering exactly, but also so that I have physical "fake" negatives to make the comment on authenticity (and lack thereof) rather more poignant.

Re the colour project, I agree that there is no point in simply re-creating tourist snaps - there are mountains of originals which are much better (a tour of Barcelona's flea markets will give you ancient negatives and plates that would themselves be a fascinating project). However, the intent here is very much not that, but rather to look at the changes mass tourism is causing.

For me, photography is fundamentally about making personal statements about the things that I see or care about, whether in a single image or an extended body of work. Intelligently choosing to use (or not use) film for that is a choice that depends on the intent.

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