This is a slightly varied copy of my latest post on http://laurasulillyphotography.blogspot.com I give some personal thoughts on why I blog and share my photos online, what I prefer and why I use film.
Is anybody out there? This is what I often wonder when I write a blog post. It kind of feels like talking to myself or into the void, because it’s hard to tell whether there are people who actually care, or whether I’m just doing it for myself (which isn’t a bad thing as such I think). Maybe that’s why I haven’t posted much after starting off rather enthusiastically. But why am I still doing it anyways, then? And why do I use film after all?
Posting pictures on my blog, Facebook, Flickr or other photo sharing platforms is a way of showing what I do, but on a voluntary basis so to speak. Meaning, it’s not the same like constantly shoving photos into other people’s faces in “real” life because I’m oh-so-proud of the the things I do. Online, people can choose for themselves whether they fancy taking a look or not. I’m just not the kind of person who’d call myself an artist or whatever (feels very weird to even put myself into a line with “artistry” given that I have never ever considered myself particulalry creative or talented). I want people to decide for themselves.
In fact, I do feel proud, because I tought this whole photography thing to myself and worked quite a lot on it (the only talents I’m a natural at are the very boring ones of discipline and industriousness I guess). And I think I have come quite far even though I still have a very long way to go, that’s for sure. But I have reached a level which makes me look at my pictures and think: “Hey, they’re finally not that bad after all (Er, but hang on, that dark line there shouldn’t really be there…damn I messed up)!”
Also, I have moved from plastic cameras to Polaroids (not exclusively, though), the latter still within the realm of lo-fi photography. Polaroids offer endless options of manipulating and lifting which justify the high prize per shot, at least in my view.
Also, because of reasons concerning my health, my financial situation, my occupation and my character as such (I’ve always been a homey person), I spend quite some time at home at the moment, and every now and then an idea comes up which I can’t wait to try. But I’m the only person around, so I have to use myself even though I’d often prefer someone else being on the picture because I don’t consider myself particularly photogenic (but waiting 2 weeks until I find a friend who can spare some time is also out of the question). So I ended up doing a lot of self-portraits lately.
So much for the blogging…but why do I use film? To sum it up, I don’t use film, be it Polaroid or other, because I consider it more “authentic” in contrast to digital. I also don’t think that using film makes a shot more valuable or artsy just because it is shot on film. Actually, I myself don’t like to randomly shoot hundreds of pictures on film without thinking (the lomographic approach so to speak), but to put a lot of thought into each and every shot, before (planning the shot) AND after (analyzing the shot for flaws). Honestly, I prefer a well executed digital, photoshopped or smartphone app shot to any random vacation shot on film. The same goes for photographic effects, be it on film (x-pro, vignetting, the washed out colours of certain Polaroid films, etc), or those notorious Iphone apps. I use (analogue) lo-fi effects because I want them to enhance a certain aesthetic message in a given shot, not to make a boringly composed and framed picture of granny sitting on the couch more interesting. I like to believe that any given shot I produce is still interesting even when stripped off of its effects, and that the chosen effects highlight the shot at the same time. I’m still figuring out how to do that, though. So I choose cameras and films according to what I want to achieve and create, and I choose film because I think it makes me try harder and thus learn more in the long run than using app filters or photoshop. Still, I have seen great pictures shot on a Smartphone. It’s the person behind the lens who counts, not the camera. The camera’s always only a medium. The rest is up to you, and in my case, that “rest” sometimes works out, sometimes it just doesn’t.
Just my 2 cents, though. I don’t hold them to be absolute truths. There are many approaches to photography on here, from purists to pragmatists and everything in between.
I kind of felt like talking today, even if I’m just talking to myself really. If you have managed to stick with me until now, you deserve a present: I present to you the opportunity to keep all the spellos and typos you might find. Generous me.
If there’s anyone who fancies, do feel free to leave a comment about your approach to film photography, or blogging, or life as such. It might end up making me feel that there are people out there in that void…