This is why I shoot film: Antoine Wallet
My name is Antoine Wallet and this is why I shoot film.
I’m the founder/guardian of this collaborative space aka Grain Viet Nam. After building this place for the last four months, and launching the first issue of Grain Viet Nam: Hẻm, I thought it was the time for me to introduce myself. I will share with you my journey from pixels to Grain.
From pixels to Grain
My journey into photography began at the same time as my journey through the inextricable alleyways of Sài Gòn back in 2016. I was, then, as geography student in Paris and I came to Viet Nam to write a master’s thesis about Sài Gòn’s waterways. I started photography in order to document my researches but I quickly turned my focus to street photography.
He was quickly drawn to film photography. As I was shooting long-exposure with my digital camera, I was getting bored of all the post-processing needed to create the image I wanted. As few friends of mine were shooting film, I decided to give it a try. I headed to the nearest retailer and got a Pentax Spotmatic with a 50mm Super Takumar lens.
I went out and shot a roll of Kodak UltraMax. After one day at the lab, I received the result. I was speechless, not because all my shots were great, far from it. But because on a roll of 36 frames, maybe 5 were good enough for me. I realized for the same result with my digital camera, I would have needed at least 100 shots, if not more. And then I would have spend at least an hour editing, cropping to get a good/usable image.
The black & white shift
As I was shooting colour films for few months, I wanted to go deeper in shooting film and wanted to control the whole process. Almost at the same time I met Ngoc, founder of Noirfoto, he taught me how to process films myself. Since then, I might have shot thirty rolls, and all of them were processed by myself. Back in France for a few months I also started to print in on silver gelatine paper in my homemade darkroom. Shooting in black & white makes me think more about the lighting situation, the framing as I know I will not post edit the shot in Lightroom.
Few weeks after this roll, I went fully analog and sold my digital camera to a friend. I realized shooting film was not only helping me become a better photographer, it was also helping me in a more personal quest for tangibility. Because of the film I choose, the developper I process it in and the paper I print it on, I’m fully in control of the creation of the photograph. What’s more amazing in this process is that no computer at all is needed, only a bit of electricity for the darkroom.
Shooting film: a world of possibilities
Shooting film also opens a door to a world of possibilities. There are dozens of film stocks available: colour films, black & white, positive and even infrared. Each film film produces a distinct results, and you can use a different one everyday to achieve a specific idea you have in mind.
I’ve been shooting film for almost two years now, if someone ask me why I still shoot film, I will probably because it makes me a better photographer. Going out to take photographs knowing I have only 36, or even 12 for my medium format Bronica S2, frames to shoot forces to think before pressing the shutter. In general, shooting film helps me to reconnect with my photographs. It plays a pivotal role not only in making images tangible in an increasingly digital age, but in creating new meaning for both myself and the observer.
There are dozens other reasons why I shoot film, but I will stop here. But I really want to read why YOU shoot film. For that, it’s easy, just fill this form, and your story will be published under 48 hours.