The film I shot in Italy came back from the lab last week. It’s always like Christmas when I get film back from a shoot.
Aside from my digital camera, I brought my Yashica Mat 2 1/4 camera and used both b/w and color film.
I’m still thinking about the differences between the film and the digital images. There’s definitely a big difference in the way I can shoot with each. Obviously, the digital is faster and one can fire off a lot of shots in secession. The 2 1/4 requires a handheld meter, which takes some time to determine the needs of the shadow and highlight areas of a scene. There’s also the decision to be made of whether to shoot in color or b/w, which requires a level of commitment I find so difficult sometimes, especially when doing street photography in a foreign city with just one camera on me. It was fun to torture myself like that – forcing myself to have to just see some things in the world without being able to capture them.
In terms of similarities, all the images are contemplative to me, focusing on natural light and formalism to convey the mood of quiet observation we seemed to feel while we were there.
Some of the images, like this one of Zoe on a kids’ ride in one of the campos (a harness system suspended over a trampoline, which allowed her to jump high above the square) also has that sense of comedy we felt about some of our experiences, how nicely strange even simple things can feel sometimes when you’re in a different culture.
I guess one of the biggest differences between the two media is that my touristy pictures on 2 1/4 film take on a bit more poetry and drama. It’s easier to go between making snapshots, eye candy and art on the digital camera. I would often shoot something in multiple moods to play with those different meanings, the way I do at a wedding or event – just trying to see something with every bit of creativity I have at that moment, and to let myself determine which idea worked best when there’s more time later. But there are only 12 shots on the 2 1/4 film before you have to reload, so that media commanded more of a bridge, allowing me to fuse those three eyes into one shot. For example, these two images of our wanderings around the Rialto market, where I was thinking about the tourist implications, memories we’d want to keep and the formalism of eating fresh strawberries as we walked around and marveled at the fish and squid offerings.
One of the nicest things about the Yashica Mat is that it is shaped like a box, so can be balanced on an old well in the campo outside a great restaurant where we’d had a really memorable lunch and set with the timer to make our only full-family vacation picture.