The Importance of Gearing Down

Maybe the biggest plus of those who know both worlds, analogue AND digital: you don’t unlearn certain things. Reasons for me to spend a »gear down« day at the countryside, including a fully mechanic medium format camera body, one lens, a single roll of film, 12 frames possible – and some reflections afterwards.

– Carrying too much gear is mostly a sign of insecurity and missing reflection on the topics a photographer is interested in and and also of missing reflection on the story a photographer wants to tell. (The closer I am to all this, the smaller my camera bag can be.)

– „Chimping“ is nothing but a bad attitude. Don’t get me wrong here: it’s ok to have a look at some shots when on assignment and in doubt of proper lighting. An experienced photographer knows about moments and photos – for the heart skips a beat.

– Last but not least: Fortunately, there is no right or wrong. The only reason to make choices is definitely a matter of the right tool for the photos and for the intention of the story a photographer wants to tell.

Even in times of digital I still shoot film and would never consider to sell my analogue gear. The choice of cameras, formats and lenses always depends on the idea I have about the resulting photos. Referring to HCB, who used to say »sharpness is a bourgeois concept«, the perfection of noiseless photos could be the same. »Can you please add some noise or grain, this looks way too clean.« Clients‘ words, not mine. Smile.

Some more reading here: »Why I’ve Gone Back To Shooting Film… And Why You Should Too« (08/2014, David Geffin at Leicaphilia)

Photo: © 31.8.2014 – All rights reserved.

Although I normally don’t discuss technical aspects for the sake of the image itself, here is my recipe of photographic straightforwardness of the photo above: Mamiya C330, 80mm lens, Kodak TMax 100 B&W (found in the film fridge and definitely out-dated). Exposure 1/500s, f 8, orange filter at 200 ISO. D-76, no crop, no additional enhancement via LR or else, this is the raw scan (except black frame and watermark).