Why Large Format in Modern Times?
Why not use large format photography? I am often asked about why I would go to all the trouble of lugging around "that huge camera" when digital has taken over the world? My response: really? I wasn't aware of that takeover...
All games aside, large format photography is as relevant today as it was at the turn of the 20th century. There is a host of reasons that I can think of off the top of my head of why I still use a large format process.
I will create a list below, in no particular order of why I still prefer large format photography in contemporary times. Make sure you enter your comment at the bottom of the article if you want to add something to the list.
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Reasons Why I Use Large Format Photography In The 21st Century
How about you? Why do you enjoy using large format in modern times? Be sure to comment below.
I posted the article on various Facebook groups, Twitter and Linkedin and I have included below some of the reasons that I thought was awesome!
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Keywords: analog photography, black and white, darkroom, film, fine art, ilford, kodak, large format, photography, slide film
Hi Tim -- I agree with ALL your reasons, as well as those of others who have responded. I add one more for your consideration:
Every photograph is an abstraction of reality. For example, if you point your camera at a tree and make a photograph, what you have at the end of the process (both digital and traditional) is not a tree -- it is your personal interpretation of a tree. It is an image on a piece of paper. Many people confuse this obvious point. If you show them your photograph of a tree and ask them what it is, invariably they will tell you "it's a tree." Then, to prove your point, tear it in half. If it were a real tree you couldn't do that. Which brings me to my point about what I like about using a view camera: when you look at the image on the ground glass it is upside down. This helps me to separate myself from the object in front of the camera. I begin to see it as lines, shapes, forms, texture, positive and negative space etc. -- all the things they teach in Art 101. And there is no "delete" button (yeah, I guess that's a second addition to the list).
For me analog and LF photography is mindfulness photography. It's slow and give you time to consider, adjust and get into it before pulling the trigger. And the of course the beauty of black and white made the real way.
you mostly mentioned aspects that are specific to your personal style and liking, and I want to add some technical:
superior resolution resulting in extreme sharpness and detail, even with cheap lenses
totally different depth of field
totally different visual rendition of image angle, wider image angle with a eg 50 lens without looking wideangle, less perspective shortening
longer exposures in daylight you cannot achieve with nd filters
Have fun with your monster! :) having gone digital myself, large format may eventually bring me back to analog, if only we had more space...
OK, I'll be the first. "Looking at your scene/subject on the ground glass of a large format camera is a wonderful way to experience the scene and create a photograph."
You hit it on the head Tim, large format makes you slow own, think about what want from the image, decide how you visualize the scene at the moment you fire the shutter. It takes time, patience, suspense, and a bit of intestinal fortitude, but the results of that big negative and subsequent print that "magically" appears in the developer cannot be mimicked, nor is it satisfied, by any means digitally, period.
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