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Mastering Film Photography

Mastering Film Photography

Whether you prefer the term retro, vintage, or “old skool,” there’s an undeniable truth to the familiar quote: “What’s old is new again.” This is increasingly obvious among next-generation photographers who are already reacting to the established digital norm and actively seeking out something more soulful and personal than the pixel-pushing, quick-fix of the digital age. And that something is film. Yet this is a generation that has never experienced film photography. They have not felt the unique combination of fear and excitement at taking a once-in-a-lifetime shot and not knowing if it’s perfect; nor have they waited with bated breath to see if their labors are good, bad, or indifferent. And they certainly won’t have experienced the “happy accidents” associated with badly loaded film, light leaks, collapsed shutters, or any of the other “defects” that can transform an average shot into a one-of-a-kind photograph.

Mastering Film Photography is a fast-track guide to shooting emulsion in the digital age. After a crash course in how film works and how to choose the ideal camera to use it with, readers will learn how to overcome the challenges of getting the exposure right when there’s no instant feedback; how to use flash systems in the pre-TTL era; and the importance of filters before Instagram; as well as exploring the creative world of lensless photography. With profiles of leading film practitioners along the way, the book is rounded off with a guide to the traditional, digital, and hybrid processing options that will enable you to make the most of your negatives and slides. 

Chris Gatcum has always had a passion for the tactility of film – the physicality of emulsion as opposed to the 0s and 1s that create a digital image. As well as the obligatory digital arsenal, his camera bag bulges with myriad “old timer” cameras uncovered in thrift stores, flea markets, and online auctions. He is the author of Plastic Cameras, 52 Assignments: Experimental Photography (both with Ammonite Press) and is a regular contributor to Black + White Photography magazine. Chris lives in East Sussex.

Inside pages - click to enlarge