"Learning how to use different formats has made me a better photographer. When I started working in medium format, it made me a better 35 mm photographer. When I started working in 4x5, it made me a better medium-format photographer."
- Mary Ellen Mark
Dear Kodak Portra 400,
We've had our ups and downs. I do love you dearly. Every roll (10 frames), you cost $6. Oh, and then $9 to process. Four times a week. And that's just for the film, never mind the scanning, and digital processing, and printing. I admit, I knocked off a bunch of rolls of you just to meet my quota. Also, I kind of hate that 800 is the highest speed you go, which you have to rate to 400 for metering, anyway. I felt like I was working backwards with you all semester - people shoot digital to look like film colors. We were forced to shoot film and strip your gorgeous green shadows and dreamy skin tones to be “color corrected” - AKA look like digital. Everyone’s work looked digital. Which goes against that lovely nostalgic, romantic element of film. For the thousand dollars I spent on you and getting you developed these past three months, though, I’m happy with the results. I came out with at least twenty photographs that I’m proud of. And that’s cool! Going from digital, to medium format, to 4x5, back to medium format, has made leap through hoops but become stronger with each hurdle. I'll be posting a Film 101 ongoing series as part of The Newsletter (don't forget to sign up at the bottom of any page!), but I'll end here saying that if you have a chance to shoot film - do it. Slow down and strengthen yourself as a photographer. It's an investment that's worth its weight.
Thanks for the memories Portra,