Why I shoot on film | Chiara Natale

A declaration of love to film photography

There’s a reason why I shoot on film, a very particular reason to me. I really don’t know if film photography is better than digital, I only know that I love to shoot on film. If you’ve ever seen a photo taken on film, you’ve probably noticed that film photography has at least two special, concrete “features” on its side – the same old story that every film photographer will tell you again and again. Everybody knows that film handles lights exceptionally well and that color looks great with film – every film has its own particular way to make colors vivid, or bright or special in any way – perhaps these are the reasons why film photography is so trendy these days, especially in wedding photography.

 bridal-portrait-on-film (1) 

Film photographers – and some clients as well – know that there are A LOT of other reasons why film is a great choice. For example:
* (You already know that) With film, post processing time is halved. Shooting film, my life has improved both as a professional photographer and as a human being. I can spend my time doing real important things for me and my clients, not staying all day long in front of a computer trying to be up-to-date with my editing.
* Another old (but true) story: film forces me to be a better photographer. I have to better understand light, I have to better compose/select in camera and not on a computer screen, I have to choose when to shoot, not spending all the time doing click, click, click, trying to find a moment.
* Moment. Yes, moment. This word reminds of another word: present. With film I have to stay present. I have to live in the present moment, with my eyes and all the senses wide opened. No better way to go mindfulness, to enhance intuition. A real way to concentrate and to meditate. Zen experienced in everyday life.
* Film photography enriches my life, because it allows me to improve a series of personal qualities. I have to be patient. I have to stay concentrate and look before I take every single shot. I have to feel and empathize with my subjects, whatever they are. I have to slow down. I have to stay ready and, at the same time, remain calm. Film is an exercise for the soul.
* Film comes with a special mood, a more complex feel, to discover little by little. Is a way to honor time and memories and all the important things in life.

Mostly, I shoot on film because of my great love for that little bit of imperfection and that kind of surprise that makes every photo unique. Not to mention the mood that is a blend of joy, nostalgia and splendor. But, most of all, I shoot analogue because I love that film is something definitive. Let me make a sort of comparison in order to explain my thought. With digital photography, I edit my raw files using presets, gradients, effects, changing the colors and post-processing. It’s like an obsession: it almost seems that we (photographers, but also clients) have to change our mind depending on the season and on our tastes in that particular moment. Today is dark and moody, in two months the same photo looks better with a light and airy look. Today color, then black and white. All is fluid, all is too way relative and virtual, like there is no memory, like there is nothing made to last. Instead, I want something made to last. I don’t want to change the same photo every time. I don’t want to follow trends, changing my mind with the wind. I want something that is already perfect with its inner, beautiful, imperfection. I shoot on film because, to me, is a different way to conceive photography and life. Is something definitive, something that you can’t change, something that is really “forever”, really timeless, in many ways. This is what I love most in analogue photography: is definitive, timeless indeed. And in that specific “time”, I can find everything I need.

2 thoughts on “Why I shoot on film | Chiara Natale”

  1. “But, most of all, I shoot analogue because I love that film is something definitive”

    Elegantly put, my admiration for professional photographers especially one who shoot weddings of film is boundless. Well done Chiara.

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