Our Story: Film Photography: Modern Challenges Stories

Coinciding with the launch of the Intrepid Enlarger we had the chance to sponsor a talk at the British Journal of Photography where six contemporary film photographers discussed the challenges that come with shooting and working with film in the 21st century. More than anything it highlighted the community film creates and the ways in which the medium continues to adapt and grow in the digital age.

© Alex Fleming

Fashion and portrait photographer Katie Silvester, opened the discussions by exploring the expectations that come when working as a professional photographer shooting exclusively film, frequently being met with concern over not having instantaneous access to the images or “not even using digital as a backup?!” She expressed the importance of doing things for enjoyment as well, presenting a previously unseen series of work featuring an intimate look at beekeeper turned rapper, P Honey and his bees.

Ellen Jane Rogers shared her journey of experimentation in darkroom techniques and analogue photography that formed her ethereal ‘Genesis’ project. With shooting film comes a patience and willingness to keep trying and take risks, Ellen’s entire creative process follows this, working until the piece in front of her resembles the idea in her mind.

© Alex Fleming

Documentary photographer Aria Shahrokhshahi continued the conversation, exploring the patience, trust, and mutual respect between subject and photographer that is fundamental when shooting film. In Aria’s latest project he spent time in The Gambia with a young man called Kalidou who is going blind. Through the medium of film Aria documented his story and is raising money through crowdfund for Kalidou to get surgery to save his eyesight.

Mike Crawford has run the renowned Lighthouse Darkroom in London for many years where he works as a professional printer. Whilst touching on his printing knowledge he focused primarily on his personal work, in particular ‘Nocturne’ an Urban focused series of black and white, high-contrast images capturing fleeting, abstract moments in cities at night. 

© Alex Fleming

The talks were concluded by Lee Shulman and Emmanuelle Halkin  who run The Anonymous Project a charity based in Paris, committed to collecting and archiving Kodachrome colour slides from the last 50 years. Their project relies on donations of slides from individuals, they then sort, scan, and archive them all by hand. The project celebrates the shared experiences and similarities between people from all over the world and all backgrounds, revealing some touching moments that would otherwise be forgotten.

© Alex Fleming

This event was a chance for people to come together over a shared interest in film photography, highlighting the real sense of community that surrounds it. Despite being frequently scorned as a fashion trend the growing number of photographers opting to shoot exclusively film shows the ability of the medium to overcome and adapt to any challenge it faces.

The End.