Why I love film | Personal

It’s funny how things run in cycles. All things get old but the good things age well and come back (if they ever really left). For obvious reasons I will apply this thinking to my love of photography in general and film in particular (and those beautifully crafted machines that expose it called cameras). 

In 2001 I decided to start shooting digitally for weddings since I saw the writing on the wall. I knew this digital thing was going to be for real. I started adding it into weddings along side film and started building a digital wedding portfolio. 

Eventually when I met with potential clients, digital was my only offering. I had a hard time convincing people back then that digital would hold up as well as film and look as good as film. I told clients that they would like digital as much, showing them prints made from both digital and film and they couldn’t tell the difference. I worked hard to make that happen. 

I rode an early wave of digital success while trying hard to make it look like film. I did this for years. I bought newer and better cameras that could do more things (most of which I didn’t care if they could do) and bought newer and better software to add the film look. In the mean time, film grew more exotic to the masses and photographers sprang forth that did amazing work and had never actually touched a roll of film. Many talked about film though as if it were a magic substance that made everything turn into art (it’s not). They did all they could to make their digital files look like film types that they had never seen (difficult if you think about it).

I love film. Is it perfect? No. That’s one reason I like film more than digital. Is it harder to use than digital? Yes. That’s another reason. Do I know what I’ve got when the shutter fires? Yes and no. Digital gives instant feedback while film requires that I know what I’m doing at all times, that knowing is more of an intuitive feel. That is yet another reason. 

Digital, when done right looks bad to me. It looks too perfect. Plasticky and too smooth for a lack of a more eloquent description. To combat this I have gone to varying lengths to add elements to the files (sad that that’s what they are) to make them appear to have the same natural imperfections and unique characteristics as film. The irony here is that I’m adding these imperfections digitally, which means I can recreate them exactly from frame to frame if I want. That is the opposite of what I love about film. Digital works and can look good but it stings my creative soul every time with a feel of cheating.

Let me be clear, the only thing that really matters in the end is the image that you get. How you get it is personal and shouldn’t be questioned as long as it speaks to you (and says something nice of course). Images I capture on film speak to my soul. These images require no effort to make them look as if they were made using film. 

Film is tangible and not subject to the whims and twists of technology. Less wasted effort where creative energy could be applied to something else makes me a happy photographer.


A Sicilian Affair | Destination Wedding Sicily

Siracusa, Ortygia + Palazzaolo Acreide | Touring Sicily | Part 4

A bus trip was planned from San Cataldo to Siracusa. What a fabulous idea, to get as many of the friends/family together for a guided tour of Siracusa and Ortygia.

Siracusa is best known for its sites with some of the best preserved Greek and Roman remains anywhere. It was really helpful that the guide explained the historical importance of the area and pointed out all sorts of great facts. The Greek Theater was most impressive, I believe it dates back from 5 BC. Each year the theater puts on a Greek Theater Festival, another item added to the bucket list. I can’t even imagine how impressive it must be to see a Greek tragedy (or comedy) right there in the actual spot where they were performed thousands of years ago. Truly impressive.

The Ear of Dionysus was another spot not to be missed. This cavernous opening into the limestone rock, the shape of a human ear. How was this built and why? I can’t even imagine how something this large was undertaken. Again, truly impressive. There is a a reason this archaeological site has so many visitors – so much history in such a small area. And great fresh squeezed orange juice!

From there the tour went to Ortygia – the island just off of Siracusa. Here, you come across ruins right in the middle of your walk. Cobblestone streets, beautiful shops and great food. My favorite stop was the elegant Piazza Duomo – surrounded by ancient noble palaces, restaurants, churches and of course the Cathedral. This Cathedral has so many stories to tell that it actually helps you understand history through religion. Another impressive spot not to be missed. In fact, my next trip back to Sicily will include a much longer stay in Siracusa, specifically Ortygia.

The group had lunch together at a traditional Sicilian restaurant, everyone seemed to have a smile on their face when they finished!

The bus tour then headed to Palazzaolo Acreide. What a quaint little town. A great place to walk around and explore old buildings, small museums, quiet little streets, local gelato and pastries. Of course there was a beautiful Cathedral in town and a group of elder gentleman chewing the fat as my grandfather would say. A must stop as well.

The tour concluded with the 2 hour bus ride back to San Cataldo. A beautiful day was had by all. Happy we were along for the ride.

Meet and Greet Sicilian Style | Wedding in Sicily | Part 3

After some very long travel from some very far away places – friends and family all came together to eat, drink and celebrate. I just love how great food and great wine are the center of so many of life’s celebrations.

So what better spot for a meet and greet than in a beautiful wine shop located above a grocery store in San Cataldo? Who would know this little gem existed? What a selection of wine, grappa, port, etc. And of course the food was outstanding. All sorts of cheeses, local meats, arancini (my favorite rice balls that are stuffed with all sorts of goodies), one food tray after another. And if that wasn’t enough food, then there were trays of local deserts – oh I can’t begin to explain how delicious the cannolis are in this part of the world. So good. Period.

It was so beautiful to see these two families meet for the first time. The bride’s family is from San Cataldo, the groom’s family is from the east coast. They met in Scottsdale and as the saying goes, the rest is history. Friends and family from as far away as Hawaii, Arizona, California, Colorado and the east coast. And of course family members from party of Italy and of course Sicily joined together for this special evening. A heartfelt toast by the bride and groom definitely made it all real. Chin Chin!

From the beach at Taormina to the tippy top of Castelmola | Wedding in Sicily | Part 2

What a nice day trip to Taormina. When Keith and I eventually take our honeymoon (11+ years late) Taormina is a spot that could find it’s way back on our radar. The beach was just spectacular. The resorts looked gorgeous. The town itself is high above the beautiful beaches – one hair pin turn after another or a lovely little tram ride up from the beach.

The cobblestone streets are chock full of churches, adorable little stores, side alleys with hotels, restaurants, gelato shops, the ceramics of Caltagirone (love this stuff!!!). Yes, it had a typical July crowd, but it was still an enjoyable day full of great views, delicious espresso and even better gelato!

The day concluded with a trip up to Castelmola. It turns out that Taormina is only half way up the cliff overlooking the water. To get to Castelmola you just keep climbing. Then you park your car and you keep climbing some more on foot. You are rewarded for this climb with outstanding views of the coastline and a perfect view of Mt. Etna’s erupting. Yes, the big red plumes of lava are really easy to see at night! Just crazy!

Related Posts with Thumbnails