Its said, we are in the greatest era of photography. I agree on that – partially. Here’s why…
Thanks to the digital revolution in the field of photography, not only have the gears become highly affordable (there’s something for everyone) but also the innovations in the field of photography has reached crazy heights in the past decade. Despite all the glitters of the modern age of photography, when I thrive for inspiration, I am left with no choice but to look back at the work of legends of the golden days of Film Photography. Whether its the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau for street photography, Ansel Adams for landscapes, Steve McCurry for Travel, Robert Capa, James Nachtwey, David Burnett for photojournalism, the list can just go on and on but all these greatest photographers were from the film era. What makes those days so special is the very simple fact that they had to get it right not using photoshop or lightroom or aperture but through the camera itself. This very fact is missing in the present day of photography. The craze for gears, dependence on editing softwares and popularity on social networks seems to overpower the basic aspects like composition, exposure and creativity. 36 shots on a roll made one think a lot more before pressing the shutter button. Digital age just gave us an option to click 1000’s of pics without giving it a second thought. No complains though, digital holds its pride in making photography more popular by making it more accessible thereby reaching to the masses. Everyone’s a photographer now a days – Including me 😉
But there seems to be a reverse trend of getting back to films. Those old film cameras from yesteryear’s sell dirt cheap online, films aren’t expensive either and neither is developing and printing them a hassle. I am sure these cameras only helps in making a “photographer” get better by forcing the person to think much more than he would do when on a DSLR. ( Or atleast gives the film camera “OWNER” a pride in answering the question “What camera do you use?” with a fancy “I shoot Film” as an answer 😛 )
As of now, I am happy referring back to those magnificent masterpices created during the film era and continue clicking with digital. Applying the basic principles of film era like ‘getting it RIGHT on camera’ and never to put your photographs on botox while processing (especially with these nasty editing software options that we got) keeps my journey of photography on track. So I am in no mood to switch to those film cameras for now.
Since I do a lot of street photography, I always wished to have photographs which gives the feel of films but how do I fulfill my fetish for film photography without even owning one. Answer came in easy with just three words “SILVER EFEX PRO“. Silver Efex Pro is an incredible black and white conversion software from NIK. I am old school when it comes to softwares, I still stick to Adobe Lightroom because its the only editing software I could manage to understand and its limited editing options compared to photoshop makes it even more attractive to me (NO OVERCOOKING – which is AWESOME).
Silver Efex Pro follows the footsteps of Lightroom in terms of simplicity and user friendliness. What really attracted me the most was the film presets on Silver Efex. Its got a whole range of film presets to mimics film processing. Ilford, Kodak, Fuji and Agfa being the films with ISO range from ISO32 to ISO3200, as per the actual standards. When applied over the photograph being processed, the software almost identically mimics the output of that particular film. Those grains, damn you could almost feel them. The moment I processed my first image on this software, I knew I would have to reprocess all of my older images. That would take ages though, nevertheless I am on it with a deadline to keep myself under check. After almost 600 words of boredom, let me share some of the recent photographs I edited with Silver Efex.
Film Preset : Ilford Delta 100 Pro. It just changed the whole feel of the image, right away.
Film Preset : Ilford Delta 400 Pro. ISO400 did add a lot of Noise, but that’s something I was looking for.
Film Preset : Kodak 100 TMAX Pro.
Film Preset : Fuji Neopan ACROS 100.
Film Preset : Kodak ISO 32 Panatomic X.
Film Preset : Ilford Delta 400 Pro
Film Preset : Ilford Delta 100 Pro
Film Preset : Ilford PAN F Plus 50
Film Preset : Agfa APX Pro 100
Usually it doesn’t end with choosing a film preset, I further like to play around on the file in Lr doing those minor tweaks like a bit of dodge and burn, a bit of vignetting and so on, all those minute touche really does add to the final output.
Silver Efex Pro is a blessing for all the street photographers, who shoot digital and crave for films, but don’t really intend to own one. It works for me, it does fill in my appetite for films 🙂