With film photography making a resurgence within the photography community, we’re celebrating those who are keeping the format alive.
Today we’re sharing 10 of the best submissions we’ve had to the Intrepid Film Photography Award, in which each photographer tells us about their strongest film work, and what it is that brings them back to film time and time again.
All you need to do to enter is choose your strongest photograph shot on film and tell us what it is exactly that brings you back to using film, time and time again. You only have a few days to enter!
The Intrepid Camera Co. is a young start-up enabling a new generation of photographers of all kinds to put down their digital cameras and embrace the world of film with their affordable large-format cameras.
Scroll down to the bottom of the article to find out how to submit to the competition and win one of Intrepid’s large-format cameras – it’s free to enter and only open until Sunday 11 June, so don’t miss out!
I am a female photographer whose work is primarily landscape-based and rooted in notions of fabricated memory, grids, enclosures, and national identity – Chinese in particular.
I have a keen interest in the ‘sublime’; the idea that embracing how small we are and vulnerable can be empowering if looked at in the right way. We experience the world through encounters, most seemingly inconsequential short experiences – tourism specifically in it’s universality helps us understand and digest the complex nature of the world.
It is important to me that my photographs be connected to my principles, that they ask questions about human nature and our desires. To bare witness to this collective striving for transcendence that seems to be ingrained in the modern man and I feel as a singular image this best represents those ideas.
I had been travelling for almost two months around Mongolia and China and this image was taken near the end of my trip. The moment the two people in this shot appeared, I knew I had captured something that was quite emotive – the woman at the front is taking her own photograph so there is an element of us each mirroring one another.
They are only just visible which I think adds to the vastness of the surrounding landscape. We each become part of the same whole, a series of prescribed views functioning under the same purpose. As the American sociologist Mark Gottdiener has argued, “more than any other everyday escape, the holiday is a small-scale replica of the great escape messages of our culture.” I think this image is successful in illustrating that inherent urge in all of us to escape from time to time. Tourists are very much like semioticians; the landscape becomes a series of signifiers and pre-established notions.
I shoot on film for several reasons – firstly and probably most commonly is because I like the fact that it slows me down. Due to the nature of my photography that is a positive, as I spend a lot of time just waiting and watching. Sometimes that’s due to different weather conditions, other times to do with the way people are moving around a particular scene.
It’s quite a solitary activity, landscape photography, and you often know what your shot is straight away so having a limited number of sheets of film is often not a problem. I also like to have a lot of information in my skies and make my work with the intention of exhibiting them at a large scale, so shooting large format is ideal for me. In the end, though, all that matters is whether your image resonates with the viewer or not.
I am a Dutch photographer fascinated by the question of what makes us human.
The girl in the photograph is Maxime, a young traveller’s child in the Netherlands. Because of changing laws in our country, her future is uncertain. Our government wants this group of people to live in ‘normal’ housing and among ‘normal’ people, and no longer in trailer parks.
This image was shot on 4×5 and is incredibly detailed. If you zoom in on the girl’s bike, you can see the reflection of her parent’s trailer which, for now, is home. It might not be for much longer.
I choose film because it changes the way I interact with my subject. Film is something that I cannot do quickly; it requires full concentration from both me and my subject. It leads to a stillness I am always looking for.
My practice is about exploring photography’s abilities to record and represent the abundant emotions within the world, as well as the visible in front of the camera.
This image sums up my practice perfectly. It is a combination of 120 film, 5×4 film, mis-processing, hand printing, abstraction and direction.
I shoot film for two main reasons. The first being the physicality of the medium once it has been shot. There is a sense and fair reason to believe that something has physically been produced.
Secondly, because the image that has been produced is imprinted and unique, and as such could be argued to contain some intangible invisible essence of the subject that was photographed – the “aura” as Walter Benjamin described it.
I am a 26-year-old photographer and pseudo-astronaut based in Boston, Massachusetts.
This image is taken from my series Mars on Earth, which depicts Mars simulation sites around the globe. This photograph was taken during a two-week mission at the Mars Desert Research Station in southeast Utah.
Each of my images attempts to tell a small part of a story, but for me, this one encapsulates many aspects that my crew dealt with during our rotation. The darkness, which became so intrinsic to our way of life, played a huge role in the isolation aspects of the simulation. The star trails (a fun effect of long exposure) show a duration of time, which we spent so much together.
Little did I know that my crew members would take their nightly patrol flashlights past my open aperture, but their human presence illuminating the surroundings is what made this photograph so special and strong to me. It became not just a photograph of the Mars Desert Research Station, but an unconventional collaboration among the six crew members on board.
There is something that feels so natural and tangible about shooting film – the feel of the emulsion, the satisfying click of the shutters, the excitement of seeing your newly developed images for the first time. It just feels like a natural way to create photographs. I also love the image quality that comes along with film. Most of my work relates to creating portals to another world or experience. Shoot on film (specifically 4×5) allows me to enlarge my work and create that feeling of escaping to a new place.
Based between London and Brighton, I am a documentary-style photographer interested in examining the emotional connection between people and places, searching for the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary and exploring my fascination of photographing somebody else’s world.
I’m extremely indecisive and find picking favourites a real challenge; however, I’ve picked Elliott due to its ability in connecting and engaging with a viewer.
With his eyes closed, you can really examine him and I love the quality of natural light and how peaceful he looks; the image empowers him. Portraits are what I love shooting and to me photography fundamentally is about telling original stories whilst stimulating thoughts and emotions.
I feel this picture does exactly that, there’s so much depth to the image, the photograph holds its own and an audience can take what they want from it.
I shoot on film because I like that it’s that extra bit more personal than digital. It evokes a connection. I enjoy the physicality of a film camera, the way it feels, the sound of the shutter, the recording of a scene onto a negative. Using a film camera always seems to gain a different response and connection from a subject. I like not knowing what I have captured and the slow pace it requests from me means I have to get what I want in a limited number of frames rather than shooting thousands and most of them going to waste. Simply, I shoot film because I love how it looks and how it feels.
I am a photographer based in the north of England. My work has focused on ageing and dementia, and more recently on society and conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
This is a very simple image but probably one of my most well-known. I photographed my close friend David and his battle with Alzheimer’s disease during the last years of his life . This sink was in his bathroom, and he had arranged the soap in colour order, something he had done throughout his life. He was an acclaimed artist and had a deep understanding of colour. His character and who he was began to slowly slip away, but these little details reminded me of the person he used to be.
I rarely shoot film these days, and I can work in the same way with digital cameras because I have a workflow that is based on years of shooting film. I certainly don’t think the tools with which a piece of work is made should be an important factor. However, I have always loved the slower pace of working with film.
My work focuses on temporality, time and its nature, cycles, the present and the moment. I’m interested in everyday scenes produced by reality, in order to intensify it, and to reveal its poetry.
This image, for me, is representative of the definition of photography: a space-time organisation. Photographs are inhabited by the movements of things and time. Shadow has a material existence but no weight. Shadows are the living ghosts of things and the “breathing” of light.
I wanted to photograph on film because I often shoot the material things in nature, water, fire, earth etc. I therefore find it logical that the image is created on a material support, without breaking the link between them.
I am a 22 year old documentary and portrait photographer in my final year at Columbus State University where I will graduate in fall 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography.
My work explores the innocently intimate moments found in platonic relationships, and this image does just that in a simple yet powerful way. Becoming One (Annie and Trevor) successfully presents an intimate moment with their heads entwined, resting on each other’s shoulder, and captivating the viewer with their gaze.
By shooting on film, I am able to slow down the process of image-making and focus on creating a new image with each exposure. Primarily working with a Pentax 6×7 and 120 color negative film, I can give my subjects the attention they deserve while also appreciating the patience of this photographic process. It is a beautiful experience to release the shutter and know that light has imprinted itself into a negative to capture a fleeting moment forever.
Submit to the Intrepid Film Photography Award, closing this Sunday 11 June!
The Intrepid Film Photography Award will select 3 winners to receive their very own exclusive BJP-engraved limited edition 4×5 camera. Not only that but 50 sheets of film will be provided for each winner to shoot a new body of work, courtesy of Ilford.
The three winners will be featured on BJP Online, and new work created with the Intrepid 4×5 camera will be showcased at a full-scale group exhibition in London with production support by Metro Imaging.
This is a quick-fire competition, and you have less than a week left to enter – so submit now!
Sponsored by Intrepid Camera Co.: This feature was made possible with the support of Intrepid Camera Co. Please click here for more information on sponsored content funding at British Journal of Photography.