Week 108 — The Digital Blues

Fuji X100S; 1/600s; f/8; ISO 2001

I recently mentioned that I’ve been shooting film almost exclusively this summer. Last week, I dipped my toes back into the digital waters with my Fuji X100S. I’ve been thinking a lot about the pros and cons of shooting film vs. digital lately, and I’ve noticed that perhaps my favorite thing about shooting film is that it forces me to slow down and be more deliberate with my shots. There are lots of other reasons (nostalgia, the feel of grain, larger formats, etc.), but being forced to slow down is definitely up there for me.

What’s interesting about this benefit of shooting film compared to the others is that it’s more of a placebo advantage than an actual advantage. What I mean by this is that it’s entirely possible to shoot digital slowly and deliberately. It’s just that, because we know there’s no cost to pressing the shutter, we’re more haphazard with it. So as I slowly re-introduce digital shooting into my photo adventures, I’m going to make a conscious effort to shoot more deliberately.

Right now, I’m enforcing this “film mindset” on my digital shooting by pretending that I’m shooting film. I might try to write a blog post that goes into the details of what this entails, but in short I’m not reviewing my images after I shoot them and I’m using one film simulation (Velvia in this case) on the Fuji for a pre-determined number of shots (36 in this case) until I “develop” the “roll” (upload the images to my computer). I’m also resisting the temptation to do extensive editing on the images.

This week’s shot is one of my favorites that came from my first “roll” using this method. I’m really enjoying this image…I think it falls into the category of urban minimalism, and I like that one of the minimalist components is that beautiful blue sky. I recently bought Dan Winters’s The Grey Ghost, and I noticed how frequently he used negative space in his street/public photographs. I think that I sometimes feel pressured to fill the entire frame with stuff that somehow magically ties together to tell a story, and while those images are very powerful they’re incredibly difficult to make and are very rare when the majority of the components of the frame are outside your control (as is the case with a lot of street photography with fickle pedestrians and whatnot). So it was liberating to see such an appreciated artist using negative space so powerfully…it gives me some hope that maybe I start with simple, minimalist compositions and add elements as needed…rather than starting complex and trying to eliminate pieces.

Anyways, that’s enough rambling and borderline run-on sentences for a POTW post. Enjoy the shot! 🙂

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