Tag Archives: photography

Film vs. Digital

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I‘m often asked in interviews the difference between film vs. digital, if film is dead, and how I choose which medium I want to shoot with. Film photography will always be a part of my life. It was how I was raised to take pictures; it is my roots in photography. It feels different to take a photograph on film than on digital even though so much of what they accomplish is the same.

When I shoot on film I am looking for a depth to the final image…quite simply, I find film images to have a soul. Maybe that has something to do with how you take the picture. We go through thousands of digital photographs weekly which feels like the next image diminishes the value of the one before. With film, even when I feel like I’m shooting a lot, it is only in the hundreds and when I push that shutter release each time, that shot is thought-out, composed, and one where I waited for that perfect moment. My friend Adam who had a show this past fall at the Sasha Wolf Gallery said if he ever had to teach a class in digital he’d make his students shoot on camera cards that only hold 36 frames to train them to think about each shot.

However, digital has this beautiful clarity, this “reach out and touch it” ability that I find so beautiful. The velvety texture of flower petal, the saturation of color in a blushing rose. Digital puts you there, in the moment, feeling the light, and seeing even what the human eye can’t. The speed with which we can capture, document and share with digital photography is so astonishing. Recently I tweeted, “Every two minutes, we take more pictures than the whole of humanity in the 1800s.” I alway say, photography is a right, not a privilege, and thanks to digital that has never been more true.

On a day where I just don’t want to sit at a computer editing or writing emails, or I need a break to get in the zone creatively, I find my favorite thing to do is photograph flowersFlowers represent so much about life to me: the beauty, the aging, the individuality and sexuality. I wanted to illustrate the difference between film and digital, so on my last flower study I took (as close as possible!) the same photograph on a digital Leica M with macro lens and then again on a 4×5 Toyo View Camera on Ilford Delta 100 ISO black and white film. I used natural light and did a variety of shots using different F-stops for a varying depth of field.

You tell me what you prefer: Film or Digital?

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Simple natural light setup in our studio, white textured cardboard background. Above, using the shutter cable release to avoid my hand shaking on the shutter release, which  causes motion blur. Most of the 4×5 exposures were between 30 secs and one minute. Below, focusing view on the 4×5 ground glass. 

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The outcome. 

at f/45

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30 Things I’ve Learned in these 30 Years…

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Recently I celebrated my birthday and I have to say, I’m really loving my thirties. I feel wiser, I look slightly older which I love but feel young enough that nothing hurts (yet). I am independent in a way I wasn’t in my 20s and I’ve finally found my rhythm in life. One of my favorite expressions is “If I only knew then what I know now”… so I thought I’d just write it down. The things I’ve learned in the thirty-some-odd-years for anyone younger listening and for anyone older who might like to share with me their lessons so that my next 30 years are just as bright…

1. Have a dream. Follow your dreams.

2. Failures are not mistakes, only the lessons that give us stories.

3. GO WITH YOUR GUT. Always, always, always.

4. “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” That is what I think every time I get a “little nervous”. We don’t know what is about to happen so we can’t live our lives as if we do.

5. You never know what someone is dealing with personally so be kind.

6. Knowledge is power and opportunity. Opportunity is everything. 

7. You may end up loving the things you once hated.

8. Do what you love for a living so you can love what you do. It’s the only time we’ve got, might as well spend it as well as possible.

9. Money does not define happiness.

10. It is the things that people make look easy that are the hardest to do.

11. A great photograph needs no caption because it has an idea, story or message within it.

12. Never be afraid to try something new.

13. Talk about what you love.

14. Giving is better than receiving.

15. Best friends are the keepers of your life’s memories.

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The Tintype Man

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I’ve been really interested in alternative processes in photography recently. A few weekends ago I took a workshop on carbon printing at the Penumbra Foundation in midtown Manhattan. I have to say, if you are at all interested in learning about old photography processes such a tintypes, glass plate negatives, platinum printing and a whole history of photography more then this place is incredible. (PS- the lab on street level is where I take all my film for processing! Tell them I sent you. I’ve been going there since college!)

So you can imagine my excitement when I was down in Texas with Squarespace and learned they had commissioned Portland-based photographer Giles Clement to make tintypes of all the performing musicians. These small one of a kind artifacts are a labor of love and it’s true magic to behold in the development process. What starts out as a ghostly blue fog on a sheet of black metal slowly develops into a beautiful and quite striking portrait. I’m so in love with how this process seems to capture the soul of its sitter and admire Giles for creating this exquisite collection… Giles, sorry if I was a creepy fan girl stalking you all day!

See all the musicians’ tintype portraits from the Heartbreaker Banquet here.

Want to have your own tintype portrait made? You can stop by the tintype portrait studio in Manhattan!

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“Photograph” a poem by Allan Andre

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One of the most amazing things about living in New York is the world of unknown possibility  that awaits outside your doorstep. You never know what you may find on a walk to a cafe, or what adventure awaits by taking a different commute home. You never know who you’re going to run into on Houston and Elizabeth st or what new thing you’ll discover by just being out in the world of Manhattan. I was running errands, walking through Union Square from Fishs Eddy to The Strand when I saw a darling man alone with his typewriter, very lost in thought. He asked me for a word, something with meaning, so I said “Photograph“, and this is what he wrote for me on that crisp fall day…

 

 a favorite photograph, 

                            to be shared again and again.

the light,   the texture,

                     give it strength.

  where is the eye?

             the shattered remnant of a

        perfect seeing, 

                                the ghost of a life well lived.

 the angles, the framing,

         give it context.

                 where is the absence?

  who has witnessed

               such a heart-rending deficit,

                                  such a need,

            an urgency to possess?

                               where is the photograph?

does anyone imagine

                               they are less than sacred?

           touch it up, then;

                                 show what you can.

 

 

 

allan andre

    9/20/13

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