Film. New York. So Maddening. So Great.

April 16, 2011 | Editorial Photography

Starting to shoot film again is like having to learn photography over again. It’s maddening and beautiful at the same time. I had to wait nearly an entire week to see these images! And I haven’t even begun to dig into the 15 rolls I shot last weekend to scan them.

The image above is from the Hasselblad SWC. Super. Wide. Camera. It has no optical viewfinder and you have to zone focus. Read that as “guess focus” unless you want to pull a measuring tape out. It’s a lovely camera and I call it Squirrel.

More to come.

Cheers, Zack


  • Ryan said on April 16, 2011

    Nice one man, I too have started playing around with some old film cameras that have been passed down through the family :)

    Still on the lookout for a Hassey though :)

  • Aileen Reilly said on April 16, 2011

    Love it! I’m taking my Hassy into NYC tomorrow for a long weekend and I can’t wait. Packed up some Ilford HP5, some XP2, and all sorts of other goodness. Love that camera.

  • jorge said on April 16, 2011

    Did you get that smile, the developed “film smile” when you saw the results, now try some Caffenol developer.

  • Gabe Sturdevant said on April 16, 2011

    Looks good Zack

    Theres just something about film that cant be beat. Its perfect in and of itself. This is what photography should be. The basics. None of this “but your blue channel is too hot. You don’t have your aperture set to what your supposed to have it at”

    Who cares. Make pictures. Tell a story. Shoot till you die.

  • Jennifer said on April 16, 2011

    This is brilliant. I love the feel and depth to this shot. This is why I never gave away my film camera and just bought rolls of b&w.

  • Eric said on April 16, 2011

    I just got a Hasselblad 503cx back in December, I love shooting it more than all the other digital bodies I own. Have fun with it, it’s awesome!

  • ckBren said on April 16, 2011

    How do you scan them and keep the border?

  • RawheaD said on April 16, 2011

    Yes, SWC is a beautiful camera. Love it to death. I got into film about 2 years ago. Now I’m often found using my 5D Mk2 as an exposure meter 😀

    Are you self-developing? Getting a Jobo allowing me to self-develop E-6, C-41, and B&W really pushed me over the tipping point. I now shoot 70% film 30% digital.

    Looking forward to more!

  • Ann said on April 16, 2011

    I got my Hasselblad 500C/M in late 2007 and did not touch my digital camera ever since that first day I hit the incredibly loud and humbling shutter. The Blad gives you love. Sweet, sweet love.

  • Jacinda Davis said on April 16, 2011

    I’m looking forward to seeing more of your film shots! I usually find the results of my film photography to be better than digital. For me, it is a much more involved process and I think it makes me work harder at each stage in order to ensure good results.

  • Michael Sebastian said on April 16, 2011

    Beautiful. What are you scanning with?

  • Zack said on April 16, 2011

    @MikeSeb – The Epson v750 pro flatbed. The Epson film holders suck. I’ve ordered the ones from along with the ANR glass. Hopefully that is going to make things better. The Epson carriers just don’t keep the film flat.


  • Bruce Parker said on April 17, 2011

    Love those notches

  • thomas said on April 17, 2011

    Medium Format film rules the world! people always get real confused when I’ve got my decades-old Bronica out, yes this thing DOES take better pictures then the silly little dslr you just bought…

  • Bob K said on April 17, 2011

    Yeah, when I started shooting film “again”, I felt lost. OMG I can’t check the exposures! What if they’re all horrible? What’s going on in there? Then I realized… wait a minute, I used to shoot film all the time and didn’t think twice about it. A little practice and it all comes back.

    But what gets me is that two years later, I still look at the back of the camera after every shot. Can’t help myself. I might mount a print to the back of the camera, just so I have something to look at. Or maybe a little LCD TV.

    MF film is still an incredible bargain.

  • Bob K said on April 17, 2011

    Another nice thing about film is that cheap cameras have the same resolution as expensive ones. Of course, the glass matters, but not much else. One of the frustrations of digital is that people with bigger budgets can achieve quality that no amount of skill can achieve on a smaller budget. In film days, you’d buy a fancier camera because it made it easier to work, or maybe there would be one or two special features. But everybody started with the same sensor, same choices of ISO speeds. Nowadays, even shooting with a full-frame DSLR is a luxury for those on a budget, and those who can afford cameras with clean high-ISO performance have a head start over those who can’t.

  • Debbi S said on April 17, 2011

    Can’t wait to see you again on Creative Live!
    Video is an interesting new venue? Can’t wait to hear more about it

  • Jessica Sweeney said on April 17, 2011

    Oh, I’m dying to try some film shooting, but I just can’t justify the expense right now. Maybe someday.

  • William Piacenti said on April 18, 2011

    Hi Zack-

    Could you do a side by side image with your new hasselblad vs nikon or canon digital? Same subject/composition of course…i wonder is it really a “noticeable” difference? Many of us mere mortals don’t have the gear to pull this one off, but it would be interesting to see your take on it. I’m sure I could google something, but it wouldn’t be as cool! Thanks again!

  • Zack said on April 18, 2011

    @William – Sure thing. Can’t promise when but I will do that. I’ll have to provide highres images for download as well or something because anything can look good on the web. :)


  • Jenny said on April 18, 2011

    Looking good Zack!

  • Giovanna said on April 18, 2011

    That. Is. Absolutely. Beautiful.

  • Mihai Rosu said on April 20, 2011

    Hi, that picture looks so amazing, i like it a lot. That’s a grate job shooting films because the pictures are more beautifully.

  • Paul said on May 20, 2011

    Damn! I always come to the game late. Converted to digital only three years ago and now everyone’s talking about and going off to shoot film!

    Film, the renaissance period – 2011 until I decide to swap back then the world will revert back to digital…ho-hum.

    BTW – lovely image Zack, will break out my voigtlander 35mm with an inbuilt meter that is surprisingly accurate given the camera is 70 years old and doesn’t require batteries.

  • Lorraine Marie said on May 30, 2011

    I love the thought of taking a medium format film camera to the streets. Makes me wonder if people are more inclined or less inclined to having their portraits made this way from someone they’ve never met. So, so inspiring!

  • Emily A. said on June 22, 2011

    It’s so awesome to see more people shooting film! Love this shot. Thanks for helping to educate people about it!

  • Marlies Anastasia said on July 11, 2011

    Film is a beautiful thing. One of the reasons I decided to start the Commercial Photography program at GTC this fall was so I could really play with film, and especially in the darkroom again. Oh, how I have missed the darkroom!

    I love the Nikon F3 so much. You, are pure awesome. Thank you!

  • Evan said on August 2, 2011

    Heh Zach, I just ordered the better scanning trays from Have you received yours? Do they work? Thanks

  • Zack said on August 12, 2011

    @Evan – Yep. They are great.

  • Phtic wayotography Courses London said on September 13, 2011

    Lovely image, I still love film in a romantic way

  • Ajit Mahadik said on September 19, 2011

    Hi Zack, It was great experience to watch your photo shoot. your innovative concepts are putting your pics on legend level. A commercial photographer like me in India (Mumbai) will be happy to see your live workshop in our city. All the best for your next projects
    thank you

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