Digital cameras may rule the market, but Morten Rand-Hendriksen still appreciates the act of capturing a photograph on film.
“I like the restrictions of film,” the Web designer and photographer told the Straight by phone from his Vancouver office. “I like the commitment. I’ve had endless discussions with digital photographers over this. My claim is that the digital camera has made us worse photographers. Just the thought that you can take 100 photos of the same thing and one of them has to be good kind of changes the way you think about how you take pictures.”
Rand-Hendriksen is the founder of the 12í—12 Vancouver Photo Marathon, which requires participants to use 35mm film cameras. Sixty photographers will take part in the sold-out, second annual contest on Sunday (September 12).
Every hour between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., participants will gather at the Blenz in Yaletown (338 Helmcken Street) to receive one of 12 themes to interpret. (Last year’s themes included Blank, Flash, Loud, Panhandle, and Wild Goose Chase.) They’ll each be allowed to take only one shot per theme on a provided roll of ISO 400 film.
All 720 photos that will be captured during the contest will be shown in an exhibit on October 16 and uploaded to Flickr. The exhibit, which will be free and open to the public, will be held at Vancouver Photo Workshops (14 West 7th Avenue).
A panel of judges—Erin Cebula of ET Canada, Marc Koegel of Vancouver Photo Workshops, and the duo behind Adam and Kev Photography—will pick the contest winners.
According to Rand-Hendriksen, the photo marathon is not a new concept. He participated in a couple of such events in Norway during the 1990s, before moving to Vancouver in 2002.
Rand-Hendriksen offered two complaints that he has about digital photography: people often don’t think enough about their shots, and the resulting pictures tend to languish on hard drives.
“Film kind of solves both issues,” he said. “Once you have the film in the camera and you push that shutter release, you committed to that photo. That’s it. You have no chance of fixing it, and you don’t see what you just did.”
At the first 12í—12 Vancouver Photo Marathon in December 2009, Rand-Hendriksen observed participants looking, after shooting, at the backs of their film cameras out of digital habit.
“Taking pictures with film is a whole different experience,” he said.
You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.