Counterbalance
21 October, 2023



Scotland, 2023. Kodak Portra 400. More film photos here, and digital here
It's not unreasonable to assume that 2023 won't go down as my most productive or inspired year ever. On the other hand, fiddling with rolls of film and a 50-year-old camera is easily the best thing I've done in a long time. Not because it makes me take better pictures, because it doesn’t. What I appreciate most is the unpredictability of the results (which says enough about my poor mastery of the equipment). The counterbalance to disappointment is the surprise I rarely feel anymore with digital. What the light does to the colours, a kind of softness in the greens, the hues of a reflection or a shadow, a distance to reality as I perceived it. 

In Scotland I have been a little sloppy at times, being used, perhaps, to the indulgence of digital raw files. Taking a photo with the film camera requires more concentration and time than I seem to have allowed myself.  The number of shots is limited, it has a prime lens, depth of field is more of an issue (the Z6 files are pretty much in focus everywhere, even if you don’t want them to be), and of course focusing is manual. So yes, some of them are genuinely awkward. It's not that I cherish these flaws out of some misplaced sense of nostalgia or because operating this camera sometimes feels like playing with a toy camera. No, they make me want to do better – and still be surprised.