Everyone chance I get to bring a film camera to a show I take it. The decision is really dependent on a few questions. Does the artist make sense to photograph with film vs digital? Will their image benefit from the look and feel of film vs the tack-sharp options that digital offers? Also, do I have room for this monster camera in my bag for the gig? (I’m a minimalist when I shoot shows). The truth is that the stars never really align for making an already challenging environment for shooting even more so, but I do like the challenge and I like to push the boundaries.
Through a tremendous amount of learning, research, trial and error (which includes a shit ton of frustration) I’ve learned to capture film shots of some remarkable artists while gaining newfound respect for those photogs who came before me, pre-digital. What was it like to only have a limited number of shots with only 36 frames per roll of film? What was it like not knowing if you got the shot vs the immediate gratification of the LCD screen? Here are my favorite shots over the last year or so (pre-Covid). These were all shot on a Nikon F (the original DSLR) from the late 50’s early 60’s with Ilford and Kodak film and developed in my kitchen with a Patterson tank. (Developing your own film at home can be a bit intimidating, but once you do a few rolls, it’s pretty easy).
I’ve tried shooting both 3200 ISO film and 800 ISO film and had great results with both. With the 800 you have to push to 1600 in developing, but the 3200 I’ve found is great when you need it, that being the lighting is super low. Take a look and let me know which one is your favorite and feel free to share your own film shots from concerts in the comments below. I’m still learning and during the lockdown, I’ve been doing a deep dive into all things film photography so subscribe to the newsletter to watch the journey.