Show & Tellby Niamh McCooey
You use film cameras which is quite rare nowadays. What stops you from using digital?
Hard to tell in a few words. Firstly, the difference in the process of shooting. I shoot for 12 frames and there’s always something different in each one. You press the shutter button, but don’t know what happens until later. It is a crazy mix of luck, calculation, planning and luck again. Secondly, the film gives a unique colour, longfocus lenses give a unique depth. I’ve tried many times to use a modern digital medium format camera, but I can't find a platform that guarantees the same quality. During my workshops my students come with equipment that has cost thousands of dollars but I still use the old camera Kiev 6C (about $50 at a flea market in Kiev). Digital cameras make us think that technique is just a tool like a pen or a brush – it’s not true.
How do you go about planning a shoot?
I always plan one frame, and all preparations are for just for that one. Before shooting, everyone involved knows what the final image is going to be like because I have a set idea of what I want to capture.
What are your thoughts on post-production editing?
I spend a lot of time preparing for the process, so all of the effects are real. Of course, each frame is scanned and edited on the computer but the base is created on the filming location. I think it is important to remember that post-production can never make a bad photo good…
You can read this article in full in Selvedge issue 70.