The important thing of photography that I think about

Sun Dec 11

For previous generations, the film camera was simply taken for granted. Everyone loaded their cameras, got their films developed and photos printed by photo studios. It was an era when people poured their energy into photography for its own sake.

However, while the number of snapshots has increased due to the spread of digital cameras and mobile phones, I feel that we are gradually losing that experience of absorption in photography itself. Recent cameras have become ever easier for people to use and have a wide variety of functions besides just taking photos. If it becomes no longer necessary even to focus my camera on an object with my own hands, I wonder what the photography of the future will be.

In film photography, you will certainly experience a feeling of excitement while you wait for your photos to develop. Perhaps you fear that you may not have taken the photo skillfully. Therefore, waiting to know if you succeeded or not is inconvenient and troublesome. But this waiting time is necessary. That is to say, it is a stance we take toward photography.

The reason we like film cameras is that film somehow creates an appealing atmosphere. At the same time, however, digital cameras are convenient and have many useful functions. Both approaches are valid are worthwhile. But this is not exactly what I want to talk about here. I do not simply want to revisit the now-familiar debate over film vs. digital photography.

Photography has the potential to capture the amount of time and conscious effort we put into it. It has nothing at all to do with analogue vs. digital methods. It depends on what you want to take pictures of, and what you aim to do. But if you enjoy photography, I may have a hint for how to think of it and spend your time doing it.

Even when we use digital cameras, we may later notice something different if we can just break the habit of looking at the photos as soon as we have taken them. This is neither meant as criticism of digital cameras, nor as praise of film cameras. I just think that we need to take the time to think deeply about the process of taking photos.

When I see decades-old photos which anonymous people took and left behind, I obtain a definite feeling of “something existed there”. Today as well, when I release the shutter, I hope to take photos like those.

Hideaki Hamada

Exif: Pentax 67II, 105mm F2.4, KODAK PORTRA 400, developed by FRAME*


Technologist, aviation aficionado and casual photographer.