I don’t know about you, but I am always seeking knowledge to improve my photography. The best teacher is of course experience, and the more photographs I take, the better I become, for sure. But aside from trial and error based experience (which is expensive when using film!) there is no substitute for teachers.
I’ve never had a photography education. I’ve never studied it college or anything like that, and I’ve never been fortunate enough to have a mentor as such. That is with one exception : a friend of mine called RJ of LuxCamera.com who I met online about ten years ago and met in real life for the first time only a few weeks ago. He has been a fine long distance teacher but aside from that, no formal guidance.
In this day and age, with the wonder of the Internet, such teachings can come to all of us by way of podcasts. I was never a big user of podcasts until a few months ago when I discovered one for film that I started to listen to (more below). Having got rather hooked on the ability to spend my commuting time listening to like minded people, I asked myself if there are more podcasts like this, and fortunately, there is. Over a fairly short period of time I now have a handful that I find really valuable and interesting. I subscribe to them all, download the new ones as they come out using the Podcast app on my iPhone while at home with a wireless connection, and then I listen to them on my way to and from work via Blutooth to my Skullcandy headphones.
So, without further a doo, let me list my current favorites, in no particular order :
The Negative Positives Film Photography podcast : This podcast is made by Mike Gutterman and Andre Domingues. Both are Americans and they produce a fine show. Very entertaining, usually fueled by Whiskey drinking (or ‘Bourbon’ as they call it, not to be confused by Bourbon biscuits here in the UK), substantial in length to suit the average commute at an average time of about 1 hour, and with a good mix of personality. They often have some really interesting guests and, from time to time, they even allow listeners to appear as a guest as well which is a nice touch and a good way of engaging with listeners (though I have not yet had the opportunity). Both Mike and Andre have online accounts with IG and the like and they have their own websites which listeners can follow. Best of all, the podcast has its own dedicated Facebook page where listeners can not only comment on the podcast themselves but questions can be asked and experiences shared. It works really well as a film photography podcast community. It’s growing at a very fast pace as well (the audience numbers) which is a good sign as it shows there are still a lot of people enjoying film photography, and that seems to be growing again now. The podcast recently had it’s 200th episode!
The Classic Camera Revival : This is perhaps my favorite podcast because it comprises several key elements. It is run by some really knowledgeable photographers and they spend most of their time talking about just that; photography. Wise old owls (though I am not sure they are actually old, but they are very wise) who are sharing their combined knowledge to those who want to listen. It’s also group run, so, I think on the whole they actually all meet up in person and sit round a table and chat, as opposed to having people dialing in from all over the world. So it really is like being a fly on the wall in a room comprising a meeting of photographic minds. I learn a lot every time I listen and several of the members are active in other groups, including the Negative Positives Film Photography podcast mentioned above. James Lee, for example, I have shared several online discussions with and it is quite a privilege to be able to have those kind of chats with such knowledgeable people. He is a fine printer too! He has just built an enormous darkroom! Looks fantastic. There is some casual chatter on the podcast like there is with all decent podcasts, but less so than some of the others and it only helps engagement, so the majority of the content is hardcore photography. If you want to learn, it’s a great resource for film photographers like me. I believe the guys who run it are Canadian. They also have guests occasionally.
The Sunny 16 Podcast : as a British person, I really enjoy listening to this very British podcast which is produced and hosted by Ade, Rachel and Graeme. The Sunny 16 podcast is really quite wonderful and one of it’s producers (Rachel) is the “Little Vintage Photography” Instagram user who I follow. She produces some lovely work and is active in the field of professional film photography I gather. The other producers of the show, Ade and Graeme are great to listen to, too, and have quite wonderful ways of talking – they are far more well spoken than I am as a northerner! They are all very funny and they give such a great vibe to the show. Like the CCR podcast, they talk a lot about really useful stuff. Most recently they had someone from Kodak Alaris talking about what they are up to at Kodak, discussing the release of Ektachrome, market interest, and new and up and coming film emulsions. I love the Sunny’s and really look forward to every show. They also do smaller (shorter) intermittent shows called “Backing Paper” episodes, and these too are also great and informative. There is a website for the podcast too, which is https://sunny16podcast.com/
Ted Viera Photography Matters : Photography Matters is run by Ted who is well known for having perhaps the smoothest and coolest voice in the podcast world. I’ve read many comments on his YouTube channel and the like where people say he should do voice over work for Disney or something. It really is quite special and very relaxing. I save his podcasts for the commute home after work, though it often means I end up falling asleep because his voice is so damn calming!! He is also very knowledgeable and talks a lot about various shooting styles and imparts some great wisdom. I don’t believe he has been shooting film for that long – certainly only a few years I seem to think I heard him say once, but he produces some nice work using pushed black and white films like Fuji Acros (when it was available) and more recently Rollei 400s. He is based in Las Vegas over in the USA and does a lot of intimate portrait work in black and white as well as nighttime street photography.
I am sure I will start to listen more, including the new podcast by EM of Emulsive.org. I have not yet got round to subscribing but his website is amazing and he actively encourages photographers like me to write articles for the website, making it a great central resource for film photographers. EM is doing great things for the film photography world and it is great to see.
Do you have a film photography podcast or a view on any of the podcasts mentioned above Feel free to comment if you have so that other readers can benefit from your recommendations.