Film Hurts, In A Good Way. Introducing Doug Menuez 2.0

“Mulling it over, I couldn’t articulate it fully but definitely, I knew I had become lazy, really lazy. A spectacular sloth by the standards of shooting film. Film is hard. Film is a stone cold unforgiving killing bastard. Film is once in a lifetime, no excuses. F8 and really, really be there: ready, steady, in focus, correct exposure, and pressing the shutter in synch with life.”

Doug Menuez said that, just this morning. And if you are unaware of Mr. Menuez, start taking notes. You may recall the piece he wrote that I linked to a couple months ago called Surviving Your Own Photography Career.

Well, a couple weeks ago, I had a long brunch with Doug in NYC. Great photographer, amazing man. We talked about some really heavy stuff and, alternatively, we laughed our asses off. He’s now clicked into 2.0 mode, and is writing regularly over at his new blog Doug Menuez 2.0: Go Fast, Don’t Crash.

Pay him a visit. Often. And start by reading the rest of the post above titled the Zen of Film vs. Digital Gratification.

[BTW, like Doug, I’m a closet film shooter. About once a month. It feels so brutish and raw. Hurts so good. Let that be our little secret…]


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Ron Dawson says:

Hey Chase, I’m interviewing Doug for F-stop Beyond this Tuesday. Can’t wait for the conversation. Your interview still tops the charts with the most listens.

Thanks for your continued inspiration.

Closet film shooter? Jeez, I’m more like a closet digital shooter! A guy I work switched to digital a couple of years ago, and it came up in conversation that he had a bag of those freebie rolls that you get when you process film at the local chemist. Didn’t know what to do with them, they were out of date, he was probably going to dump them. Shock and horror from me, and a bit of glee too, said I would take them off his hands. So he brings in a bag with 24 or 25 rolls of Agfa Colour 200iso out of date film. It’ll take me a while to get through it, but definately one of the pluses of shooting film in this new digital era!

Hi Chase, nice blog. I found my way here via strbist which I found via Mike Johnson, and which has led me to you, Joe McNally, Zack Arias, squeeze the lime, and now heading on towards Doug Menuez by the looks of it. All great stuff and really opened my eyes again. I have my Holga, my Nikon F90, my Mamiya RB67 and my D300. The latter is great for shooting my clients, but the first three are all for me.

Rory

Kim says:

I totally agree with what Doug is saying in his blog. So glad I saw it on your site, thanks for sharing. I purchased a $20 olympus pen on ebay a month or so ago and have been addicted to bringing it everywhere. 3 yrs ago I was shooting concerts with film, all manual. I feel like we get so wrapped up with all the settings and exposure with digital we miss something. I myself hate fussing and will admit that I’m a closet film shooter. I miss what 28mm looks like (I shoot with the D70s…no full frame sensor), I miss just catching a moment without immediately checking my display right after, I miss true film grain not pixels and I’ll stock a refridgerator with Fuji Neopan 1600 and Ilford HP5.

Matt Haines says:

You know what stinks? I love film (no that’s not what stinks). I learned on it relatively recently in fact, and then switched mostly to digital when I turned pro. But the film has really dropped off. So I decided, hey I’m going to shoot some film on the next shoot, just for my own personal enjoyment.

I forgot.

Brought the medium format camera, lenses, film was all loaded. Just forgot.

So I vowed to shoot with it two days later. Even remembered to set it up on a tripod so I couldn’t forget.

The model failed to show. Shoot canceled.

It’s not film’s fault. And I shall overcome and shoot film again. Because my soul demands it.

JvH says:

Chase, I’ll be sure to continue to check the blog and I certainly appreciate you taking the time to respond to some anonymous rant! I can definitely understand how changes in your industry/technology have you looking for opportunities to deliver the best work that you have in you. And I can also understand that you want to share that thought process. For a total industry outsider like myself, I am (rather selfishly) looking to the professionals like you to help improve my amateur work and insprire (which you certainly do!). Again, I’ll continue to check back!

T. C. Knight says:

I really do miss the smell of the darkroom.

I miss dodging and burning holding a quarter glued to the end of a matchstick rather than trying to remember what Photoshop sequence I need to use on which layer.

Yet, I don’t miss paying for roll after roll of film, developing, and CASH just to keep three shots I felt were the “best”.

Chase Jarvis says:

@ jeroen: thanks for the feedback. like a pendulum, i probably swing to and fro, past lots of readers’ ideal barometer for the blog all the time. generally i’m trying to balance the different aspects of the blog with the different aspects of our industry, my job, and my life. if you can stick with me, i’ll hope to win you back over… there’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff coming down the pipe.

fas says:

Awesome stuff out there. I wanna do some decent shooting. Need to read alot :)

JvH says:

I used to love your Blog, Chase. Fantastic pieces on how you do a shoot, and come up with this fantastic stuff. Sorry to say that now 80% seems to be philosophizing about being a photographer, or links to other photographers philosophizing. How hard it is. Yeah, yeah, I know: you guys are artists. Comes with the territory. But it is also kind of boring. By using words like ‘man’, ‘bastard’, and ‘bitch’ it seems kind of hip and meaningful, but after reading 1 paragraph, it’s still boring. Sorry about the negative comments, but I feel that I’ve lost one of my favorite blogs.

Mark French says:

You’ve sold me. I haven’t done film since high school and I seriously loved that stuff. I think I’ll keep my eyes open for a nice F4 or something. If I’m going to do this film thing I’m not going to trust it to Walmart. I figure I can buy some bulk and roll my own rolls and then develop the film myself. It’s kind of exciting to think about it! I have a feeling I’m going to waste a lot of film trying to get things right.

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Counselor:
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Me:
“Well, I didn’t chimp yesterday, but I chimped Tuesday at the track meet and missed a great moment between coach and athlete. Then on Wednesday I chimped at my son’s birthday party and didn’t talk to anyone. Then I was still chimping while my wife was watching t.v. and didn’t notice that she went to bed.”
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Me:
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Doug is a true classic. I started photography in the digital era and only recently started shooting and developing film. I hope to one day wet print in my own darkroom.

No digital camera or post production task could create the same feeling of magic.

Heinz
Hedward Photography

I agree with this wholeheartedly; I find my composition always improves after a weekend spent shooting film. (Especially black and white, where you can’t even rely on color to draw the eye from the composition.) So about once every month or two I load up one of the film cameras with Kodak TMAX or Ilford Delta and just see what I can find in film.

I find it sort of refreshing. I’m not worried about ‘was that shot quite right,’ and I’m freed to just *shoot*. If I can’t shoot film for some reason, I just force myself to spend a day shooting without ever reviewing the digital shots until I get home.

garyallard says:

I’m a big Holga fan. The simplicity of shooting pro film with a $20 plastic camera that may or may not be focused or framed up properly is pretty exciting. It truly makes me see differently and the anticipation of getting the results from the lab is a pretty cool feeling too.

Chase Jarvis says:

i’m all for using the tools at hand. digital = amazing. but doesn’t it sort of feel really good to slow down and compose an image and push the shutter just once? i end up revering my images shot on film with a more forgiving and simultaneously magical eye…sort of like digging a ditch with a shovel instead of a tractor. my hand dug ditch looks so much sexier to me…

"re-discovered" film about a month ago. I had forgotten the joy (& pain) of shooting the un-chimpable. My Mamiya is now next to my Nikon… 35mm in high school & college is now 6×4.5, shot a few rolls of color but prefer B&W.; It's like nothing else.

-Adam

shelby w says:

Closet super 8 shooter over here

Jensen says:

Ah to speed roll 220 backs and scribble snip info while never missing the action. Travel was never so sweet as when we argued with TSA agents about cumulative effects while toting lead bags and dedicated cases full of a weeks worth of the clients film. Yet, for all of its cumbersomeness and environmental impact there is something poetic about putting your eye to the light table and for the first time knowing you Nailed it. As the new guys look at me like I am crazy for using a light meters I applaud you closet film shooters, don’t empty that freezer yet for there is still a craft to the not so old ways.

I always say shooting film is more romantic than shooting digital.

Anonymous says:

Saw your tweet. Doug is a truly great shooter, and a wise man. Thanks for the tip!

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