IS FILM DEAD? Part 3 – Andre Pinces

Did you start out shooting film?

Yes, B&W, then colour.

What cameras and film did you first start shooting with?

My first camera was a Canon AE-1, then I got a Nikon F3.

What attracts you to shooting film in this digital age?

The look and feel of the final images, the equipment, the whole act and process feel more real. Same as the typical CD vs vinyl comparison. For anyone who can’t tell the difference, they’ll never know, or care. But I do.

You are also a graphic designer so you are very capable on the design end but you still often shoot film when you could easily fake it in Photoshop, why??

Same reasons as above. Also another reason could be that pound for pound, the quality I can get from my Leica vs carrying around triple the size and weight of a DSLR is worth it when I travel.

What does film allow you to do that digital doesn’t allow??

Technically not much. I shoot film for my own personal enjoyment and not for technical reasons. Shooting with film forces me away from ‘rapid fire’ mode, which is more of an exercise than a technical choice. I need to shoot ‘rapid fire’ to get my shot and move on with my day, sometimes. Slowing down with film puts me in a different mindset altogether.

Do you have to haggle with clients for the budget to shoot film?

I have to haggle with clients for the budget, period. I usually don’t shoot film for clients. There’s too much wrapped up in the whole question to spend time and energy explaining what and why. There’s nothing I can’t do digitally for them, and in the end they just need some photos, and may or may not be concerned with how or why. I shoot film just for myself.

How do you try to convince clients that film is the right choice for any given project?

I have one or two clients that don’t question my methods or approach, and give me pure freedom. This type of client is generally a magazine where I’m documenting some experience, rather than trying to sell a product.

When is film not the right choice for a client?

I find most clients can’t really comprehend not having the instant gratitude of seeing the photos instantly. The fact they hired me on my portfolio, which could be more than half film, is irrelevant. The ‘instant’ part of it outweighs the aesthetic for them. As well, deadlines are always looming, and shooting film just protracts the whole process, adding stress into the mix on both the client’s side and mine.

What is your reaction to people who say “Film is Dead”?

I say they’re right and move on with my day. I’d rather be shooting than convincing them. What if I did win the argument? Now that’s one more person bidding against me on that cool vintage eBay camera!

Will film become extinct someday?

Yes, we’re watching it happen as we speak. Look at Kodak’s situation. Some of their products are still profitable thankfully, but for how long? Maybe the hipstermatigram trend will catch on in reverse and people will start shooting film again? I hope so, for many reasons, but doubt it would grow from a trend into a viable market again.

What are your preferred formats and film stocks?

Both 6×7 and 6×6 medium format, as well as 35mm. I like Kodak Tmax and Fuji Provia, and Polaroid.

How do you deliver film to clients? Scans? Prints? Who does the scanning (you or a lab)?

I deliver everything to my clients via FTP. A lab does all my processing and scanning and printing, but in the end it all goes digital.

Are you finding it more difficult to get film processed/scanned etc?

Thankfully there are still pro labs that offer all the same old services, but on the smaller consumer scale it is becomming more rare.

What is the future of film?? How do you see it being used?? By who?

I think the future for film is limited to bleak. Other than pros who have all the angles figured out, I see it being used by old-timers who have no need to switch over to digital because they’re retired and don’t need to convert to move on, or by hipsters. I have a pretty nice collection of point and shoot cameras, either from back in the day or from just collecting. When I see what they’re being sold for on ebay I’m surprised. A camera that someone would’ve thrown out 5 years ago is selling now for $300. So the demand is out there. The fact that I could buy 30 disposable cameras for that price is also something to think about.

Who is shooting a lot of film lately that you think is doing great work?

My assistant Ian Azariah shoots mostly film for real clients. Also movies still use film for the most part, so any great cinematography today is still usually film. Chuck Close and Sally Mann are two artists who still use older methods of photography.

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Colin Adair

About Colin Adair

Colin Adair spends a large part of his life 6000 + feet above sea level trying to stay warm. As staff photographer for DC Snowboards, he is lucky enough to travel the world in search of the best snow, new images and a good time or twelve.