Book Report: Shooting Film

Last month I was contacted by Octopus Books UK/Hachette Books US, the publisher of Shooting Film, and asked if I would like to review their latest book by Ben Hawkins and Liza Kanaeva-Hunsicker. It’s not very often a new book is published on film photography, let alone a new one that describes what a new film photographer might need to discover the medium.

I love the introduction in this book on what best describes film photography: magical, memorable, emotional, dreamy, romantic, nostalgic, unrepeatable, fun, challenging, impractical. Continuing in the first few pages it points out how time consuming and impractical film photography is. And how film photography is a very intentional act. And the resulting images are equally as intentional.

The authors of Shooting Film make this book a modern guide to retro photography. Each details their own different reasons for shooting film, from the look of film to the love of using old cameras. The chapters in the book detail everything a new film photographer, or someone that’s re-visiting film, would need to know: Cameras (types, formats, buying advice, TLRs, SLRs), Film (types, formats, speeds, black and white, color), Basic techniques (how film works, quirks, metering, focusing), Advanced techniques (filters, pushing and pulling, cross-processing, multiple exposures), developing, using a film lab, scanning negatives, storage, online film communities and websites.

Each chapter is accompanied by multiple photos, for example, cameras and film formats. Several styles of cameras are shown (SLR, TLR, rangefinder) with the type of film they use (35mm, 120). Their are also some simple instructions on what is needed and how to develop your own film, scanning your film, and storing your film. There are sections that provide simple instructions on making prints in a darkroom, using a local lab or online lab. As the reader, you decide the pros and cons, and what will and won’t work for your analog process.

For a new analog photographer, Shooting Film is an excellent starting point. For example, when you read the section on developing your own film. It outlines the basics and points out what you need to have and the overall concept. From there, you can research film developing on your own with a better understanding of what is needed, from a changing bag and chemistry to temperature and drying.

If you a new visitor to Utah Film Photography and have never shot film, or maybe you’ve taken a digital-break the last decade, I highly recommend Shooting Film. Maybe you know someone that’s taken an interest in shooting film. This book would make a great gift to inspire and instruct on the basics.

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