Film Theory

Spectral Sensitivity of B&W Film – A Deep Dive into Orthochromatic, Panchromatic and All the Rest

Even if you’re new to film photography, you’ve probably heard about the various types of B&W emulsions which are out there: orthochromatic, panchromatic, infrared and so on. If you’re a bit more experienced – or just a nerd – you might even know what these terms mean. They refer to different spectral sensitivities – how sensitive the film is to different wavelengths (colours) of light.

The term spectral sensitivity might sound boring and/or scary – the kind of jargon which photography veterans use to bamboozle and discourage newbies. In this article, I’ll try to demystify the term, and to explain how an understanding of film characteristics can help us get the kind of results we want.

There are so many different types of B&W film out there. Exploring their variety and complexity can expand our creative options. Besides, it’s fun!

Economies of Film

After seeing some online discussions about the price of film rising I thought I’d revisit and follow up on a piece of writing I previously wrote about darkroom prints, and how I go about working out my cost basis in order to price them appropriately.

Unlike that article, the cost of film itself is just that – an expense. Prints are a cost with the back end possibility of a sale, which means a cost breakdown is actually part of a calculation for pricing them. You can factor in the cost of your physical film to the eventual print, or charge a markup if working with a client who has asked you to work with film, but for most people I think film will not be a factor you are making much money back on. That is why finding a way to keep that cost as low as possible makes the most sense for the long term approach to working with the medium. Finding ways to save even 50p per roll works out to hundreds of pounds across long term consistent work.

The Role of Film Photography in an AI World – By Joseph

The position of film photography has never been stronger. Against the intangibility of our virtual reality, the medium of photography and its process gives viewers the craved tangibility of physical reality and tactility. There is now a desire for presence. 

People crave realness, authenticity and tactility in artworks, not one that only possesses a brain but with heart and soul. We want to feel the presence of the artist through the artwork. We desire artworks that serve a purpose, not just to illustrate an idea but to create a sense of awe that increases knowledge. 

Scan and Destroy – My blasphemous quest to be free of my negatives – By Max Cooper

The issue of SHOTS magazine current at the time of this writing contains images central to my thesis: Recovered slides from my grandfather’s collection. On the off-chance you missed it, I’ll reproduce them below. These were shot in the late 1940s using my grandfather’s Argus C3, the original 35mm compact, so it was a stretch …

Scan and Destroy – My blasphemous quest to be free of my negatives – By Max Cooper Read More

36 frames

Why I Prefer to use Film for my Street Photography – By Armando Caballero

Street photography is what I love to do the most. If I could, I would go out there every single day of my life and take pictures of the world around me. But there is still one thing that I love even more than Street Photography, to do it using my analogue camera and some film stock. There are several reasons for this, let me share them with you.

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