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  1. Every improvement in camera technology since shutter/aperture control, effective light metering, the introduction of flash lighting and the use of roll film is convenient but unnecessary for everyday use. I might even leave light metering out that argument.
  2. Old cameras are frequently easier and more ergonomic to use than the latest models.
  3. Complexity is an enemy; simplicity a friend. This is truer now than ever with the absurd amount of marginally useful features built into the latest digital cameras.
  4. Photography is not the product of the medium; it is the product of the vision of the photographer. The technology used is largely irrelevant to the realisation of that vision despite the entire photographic industry’s attempts to convince you otherwise.
  5. There is no ‘right’ way of taking a photograph.

 

These insights are not much the product of using film per se. They derive from simple fact that once you remove yourself from the mainstream of photographic thought, the type that dominates the many photographic websites, current books on the subject, camera advertising and forum discussions, a remarkable clarity descends on the process.

It is astonishing how much photographic practice is driven by prevailing fashions. You see it everywhere. The desire to conform seems overwhelming. Vast amounts of words, images and videos are devoted to emulation and to technical discussions about the road to that conformity. Next to none are devoted to articulating and demonstrating an artistic vision that is stamped with true creativity and individuality.

It’s disheartening. The only joy is the realisation that photography is not wholly ruled by blanket conformity – some artists do rise above it and take you further into opening your eyes to new ways of seeing.

But, in reality, much the same sorts of observations could be made about any form of human endeavor. That’s why it’s essential to have developed some sort of critical facility. To see beyond the chaff. I can thank film for that.

Thank you, film.

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