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Rewinding With 'I Still Shoot Film' Tweet This   Forward This

8 May 2013

When's the last time you dropped by a photography site that featured images from a Hasselblad 503 Cxi, Rolleiflex SL66, Polaroid SX-70, Contax 645, Pentax 67 II or any other film camera? That's main attraction at I Still Shoot Film.

The site is run by Rachel Rebibo, a Paris-based fashion photographer who shoots digital professionally but isn't shy about her love for film.

"Home to a thriving community of film lovers," the home page explains, "I Still Shoot Film features inspiring photos from photographers across the globe. ISSF also provides a wide array of learning resources, including how-to articles and product reviews."

Home For Film Lovers. The home page shows off work from a variety of photographers.

We're quite accomplished at avoiding the lure of film, no danger there, but it's surprising (even a little disturbing) what you forget. What exactly was that agitation routine we perfected for developing rolls of 35mm in a tank? Our muscles used to remember and now our brain has questions.

So it wasn't the lure of returning to the darkroom again but the promise a how-to article might massage our memory that attracted us to the site.


So we rolled over to ISSF to have a look at the how-to articles. We started with the Beginner's Guide.

The Guide features a set of articles by Rebibo and another set by Nathan Jones of The Photon Fantastic. It didn't take us too long to target the most likely article.

We just had to click on the link in which Jones details the general process for film developing and there it was. The general gist of our agitation routine. It was no longer a source of, well, agitation. We remembered just what we used to do with his clear description of the general process:

Gently but firmly invert the tank five times, then tap it against a flat surface to dislodge bubbles. Repeat this agitation once a minute during the developing time, or as your film's manufacturer recommends in its data sheet.

Yep, that was it.

But it came in the third part of his treatise on Developing Black and White Film at Home. The first part is an introduction, the second details preparation and the third a description of the process.

That's a very sound approach to film developing itself, it seems to us. Remember what you're doing, get everything you need together and only then actually do it. Maybe that's the attraction of the darkroom.

The introduction is short and sweet but detailing preparation is key to success in this game. It isn't much longer than the introduction but everything you need is listed there with links to help you find the stuff online.

The third part describing the process is necessarily longer but not too long. Just long enough to explain why you are doing what must be done. Which makes it a little easier to remember.

Rebibo's articles in the Beginner's Guide explain the triangle of exposure factors, how film works and depth of field. She also provides a reading list and a simple five-step guide for dummies trying to shoot film.

We couldn't help ourselves. We read through most of them. And again what we found was sound advice, clearly stated and ready for action. Just what you want to get the ball rolling.


Much as we might have spent the evening going through the Beginner's Guide, other pages on the site drew our attention, too.

The Learn page has a list of pages that link to either ISSF articles (like a guide to buying vintage cameras) and other sites where you can explore the topic listed.

Don't miss the list of links under the title Good Stuff at the bottom of the main pages. There you'll find a link displaying and discussing Rebibo's vintage cameras, each described in detail, reviews of some of the tools she uses and links to labs and supplies, among other things.

You can also submit your own film images (including complete porfolios) to be considered for publication. That's really what the site is all about, Rebibo told us. Showcasing work in film.

If we have a complaint about the site it's that everything is centered, including the text of her articles.

But that's no reason not to enjoy this unusually rewarding Web site. Even if you've vowed never to cross the threshold of a darkroom again.

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