Some of my current thoughts on shooting film and digital in the same workflow, before a look at some Ilford HP5 from Scotland.
I love the look of Ilford HP5+ 400 pushed one stop. It is grainy, contrasty, and renders light with an almost enveloping dreaminess. It looks so different to anything out of a digital camera. And that’s where I’ve been starting to rethink things recently. How do you tie together photos from digital and film in the same body of work? Do you use each when it is most appropriate and simply let the differences be or try to create something more coherent? There are lots of solutions.
Sebastiaõ Salgado is known for his contrasty and grainy social photography, but when camera manufacturer’s digital technology caught up with film, he went full digital. His digital shots are transferred onto film posthumously (as far as I’m aware after visiting an exhibition of Genesis at Huxley-Parlour in London two years ago). This gives his finished prints a clear visual cohesion throughout the years no matter if the photograph was shot on film or digital.
Another more practical solution for me would be to use a finer grain, sharper film stock to closer match digital photos (but of course, not exactly). I have used Ilford’s FP4 125 and Delta 100 previously and enjoyed both films very much. However, I feel as though a good starting point for me might simply be to stop pushing HP5 to minimise over-graininess during the developing process. These thoughts are coming through as I’m looking to put together different bodies of work into printed volumes. Work in progress.
Enough rambling, here’s a look at some 35mm film from Scotland: