• Gavin Doran

Shooting Film for the First Time




I knew I was wrong.



Even if I couldn't admit it yet.


As I put the Leica down, I remembered all the times I told people that film photography was just a fad and that real professionals used digital while nostalgic hipsters spent $5 a photo on an outdated medium.


After a whole day of shooting on the Leica M6, I had never felt better. For the first time in years, I was excited about photography again. Not because of the images, but because of the process. Film focused me on what matters; being in the moment–fully engaged and never distracted. There was nowhere for me to go. No digital back, no screen to peer into and get lost in. Just the here and now. Just the composition and the colors and the lines and the expressions. I found a rhythm so quickly.


The following week, I borrowed a friends Nikon FE2 with a 50mm f/1.4.


The images on the Kodak Portra 400 film weren't as clear as my digital camera, but they had that distinct feeling to them that you hear people talk about who shoot film. It really makes you realize that we've become lost with this idea of 'better' when it comes to cameras.


What does that even mean?


Imagine you make one image on a super sharp lens and some absurdly good sensor and the file is loaded with all the data you could ever want–and somehow you make a photo of the exact same moment on a film camera that doesn't have nearly the technical capability etc.

If when you put those images side-by-side and ask your friends which is better, and everyone picks the film images....


...my point is that 'better' is subjective.


I'm certainly not ditching my digital cameras altogether but I will be incorporating film into my creative process and workflow and encourage everyone (yes, even you film trolls) to at least give it a fair go. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Instagram: @gavindoran

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Here are some images I've shot on film in 2020:











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© 2019 by Gavin Doran | New York City Photographer