The best photos I’ve seen were all shot on film – so personally I don’t see the need for any other medium.
Please tell us something about yourself and how you got into film photography?
Christoph: My name is Christoph Zoubek and I’m a medical student from Munich, Germany. I’ve been shooting film since I picked up my grandad’s Rolleiflex 2.8F in 2011. Before that I’ve owned several DSLRs, but my "serious“ photographic journey started with and on film. Since then I’ve added a variety of different analog cameras.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Christoph: Currently I shoot in various formats – 35mm (Leica MP, Nikon F6), 120mm (Rolleiflex 2.8F, Pentax 67, Contax 645) and 4x5“ (Linhof Technika). In black and white I almost exclusively shoot on Kodak Tri-x whereas in color I change between the Portras and Fuji 400H.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Christoph: Besides the unique look that even persists when film is digitized, I think shooting with film cameras helps me a lot because I can’t hide behind a display. When shooting portraits, it forces me to communicate even more with the person on the other side of the lens and it helps to focus. There is no safety net of immediate image control. You have to learn and get a feeling for the final result. And I think that most of my photos would look different if they’d been captured digitally. I need the physical process to actually create something that does not consist of ones and zeros.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Christoph: I did and do both. I have my own darkroom for developing and printing, but currently I’m quite busy with med school so most of my film goes to the lab for dev & scan.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Christoph: My personal approach is that I want to archive something, a moment, a face, the light shining through the windows… and film with its latitude and color range helps a lot to create those memories. I’m not sure if I’m a documentarian or a creator. Maybe a bit of both. I think you have to be a creator when shooting portraits because most of them are – to a certain extent – staged.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Christoph: I’m a collector of photobooks, so yes, absolutely. My all-time favorites are probably Jean-Loop Sieff, Arthur Elgort, Peter Lindbergh and Henrik Purienne.
Do you see any value or merits shooting with film?
Christoph: Film is just a real medium, it can be archived for years to come. And it is expensive, so it forces you to slow down and focus on your subject. And the best photos I’ve seen were all shot on film – so personally I don’t see the need for any other medium.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Christoph: Currently there seems to be a rise in film photography among younger people. On the other hand it will certainly remain a niche. It probably can be compared to the stable/slowly rising vinyl sales these days. Hopefully the companies that produce film today will stick around and keep their product portfolio. Although I’d love to see some new emulsions, I’m happy with the variety we still have.
Do you have any dream film photography project?
Christoph: It changes from time to time. Currently my dream would be to spend some days in Matera (southern Italy) with 1-2 models and capture them in the spectacular scenery of this town.
Would you like to offer a few words of wisdom to those who want to try film photography for the first time? What must they learn before venturing into this format?
Christoph: I’d start with a simple and easy to use 35mm camera and some black and white film. The learning curve with film is quite steep. You’re gonna memorize every mistake you make since each frame costs money. Try to learn how to load the camera correctly and don’t forget to rewind the film before opening the back ;) I would also recommend to do your own developing from time to time. It helps a lot to understand the basic principles of film photography. Apart from that YouTube has a lot of useful how-to-do videos on film photography and specific camera models.
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Well now, if you are a passionate film photographer and would like to be interviewed? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject, "Interview me", and share your story, thoughts, and work related to film photography. I’ll get back to you as soon as I receive your request for an interview.
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