Reviving the Endangered: Film Photography

“The medium is the message” — Marshall Mcluhan

The message here being, to slow down, breathe and look around.

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Image by Bhavya Ahuja

Marshall Mcluhan’s book titled ‘The medium is the message’ became even more appropriate when the publishers made an error in the title, changing it to ‘The medium is the massage’ or the ‘mass-age’ as Mcluhan interpreted.

This mass — digital — age has inevitably led to an age of excess. One of the major points of excess being photographs. Our phones are constantly overloaded with innumerable pictures, be it our own, or of others on social media. Whereas, our computers are filled with photographs that we dream of sorting out, without ever actually getting to it.

The luxury of excess somehow ends up making our lives and work seem incomplete. And to fill that void, comes in more technology, claiming to make our lives easier and hence, better.

But whatever happened to ‘Good things never come easy’?

Today, the norm is to point at and shoot everything that may or may not arouse you emotionally. Enter: Film to the rescue!

Bringing you back to the basics, the process of shooting on film teaches the fundamental elements of photography without luring you into the trap of quick convenience.

Going against the idea of clicking in abundance to get that ‘perfect shot’, here is our conversation with some photographers who prefer the imperfections and slowness of film.

Prerna Nainwal
25, Mumbai

Q. What do you like most about the process of film photography?

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Q. Does your process differ when you shoot for a client?

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Q. Where do you find inspiration?

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Q. Do you remember what you felt when you developed or got back your first roll of film?

Q. If you could describe your style/aesthetic, through one of your photographs, which one would it be?

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Dhrupad Shukla
25, Mumbai

Q. What do you like most about the process of film photography?

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Q. We noticed, you work with a lot of tight crops when documenting your subjects. Is this intentional?

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Q. Where do you find inspiration?

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Q. Do you remember what you felt when you developed or got back your first roll of film?

Q. If you could describe your style/aesthetic, through one of your photographs, which one would it be?

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“Photographs shot on film have a high developmental potential with regard to the texture and grains, which is why I enjoy shooting on film the most. It is thrilling to see what becomes of the photographs once they are developed.”

Paras Vijan
23, New Delhi

Q. What do you like most about the process of film photography?

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Q. While looking at your work, we noticed that you are drawn to the everyday moments. What fascinates you about the mundane?

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Q. Do you remember what you felt when you developed or got back your first roll of film?

Q. Where do you find inspiration?

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Q. If you could describe your style/aesthetic, through one of your photographs, which one would it be?

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“There is no set aesthetic that I could describe my work with!”

Naveed Hussain
24, New Delhi

Q. What do you like most about the process of film photography?

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Q. Do you remember what you felt when you developed or got back your first roll of film?

Q. Where do you find inspiration?

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Q. How would you describe your time spent processing film in the dark room?

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Q. If you could describe your style/aesthetic, through one of your photographs, which one would it be?

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Hasita Kamlesh
27, Jakarta/New York

Q. What do you like most about the process of film photography?

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Q. How did the name of your blog — ‘sixdollarcamera’ come about?

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Q. Do you remember what you felt when you developed or got back your first roll of film?

Q.Where do you find inspiration?

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Q. If you could describe your style/aesthetic, through one of your photographs, which one would it be?

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“I can’t help but be enamoured by single point perspective. This particular photograph best describes my style and how it is changing, some of the rolls anxiously waiting to be developed tangent off this aesthetic. High contrast, architectural, light and shadows is what it’s about for me now.”

Sambit Biswas
21, New York/New Delhi

Q. What do you like most about the process of film photography?

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Q. We love your portraits! What draws you to your subjects?

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Q. Do you remember what you felt when you developed or got back your first roll of film?

Q. Where do you find inspiration?

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Q. If you could describe your style/aesthetic through one of your photographs, which one would it be?

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“I’m a big fan of creamy pastel colors and minimalist photographs which show you what you want to see straight up. No distractions. My recent shoot with Belen and Abbey in Brooklyn is what I strive for in terms of looks/aesthetics.”

Lavanya Grover
22, Mumbai/New Delhi

Q. What do you like most about the process of film photography?

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Q. What is the idea behind your polaroid series that you re-shoot in different environments?

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Q. Do you remember what you felt when you developed or got back your first roll of film?

Q. Where do you find inspiration?

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Q. If you could describe your style/aesthetic, through one of your photographs, which one would it be?

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“I like exposing one frame onto another because it allows me to show how my creative mind works — the second thought always contradicting the first, several impossibilities merging into a definite concept to a detail oriented instinct. One form melts into another forming an illusion of depth and mystery. What you get is a juxtaposition of frames seeming like several ‘acts’ in a movie. There is a beginning, the middle and the end. I find this method ideal also because it saves me from digitally editing my photographs to bring the concepts to life. If and when I successfully capture an image with a certain timeless nature, the year of origin does not matter.”

Written by Seerat Sethi for AGENC

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