film is not dead besotted blog

filn is not dead besotted blog ii I grew up when film was the only option for photography, but I never took a class, although I wanted to.  It came down to budget. When I was in school you could only take a photography class if you had access to a 35mm manual camera, unlike now where you could get one (a good one at that) for under $20, cameras were very expensive and since I knew nothing about photography other than I had an interest in it, it seemed like something out of my reach. As a young adult I was still interested, but photo classes at the time ran hundreds of dollars. What I LOVE the most about the internet is that it is very democratic, you don’t have to be part of the elite to be able to explore your interests. There’s a plethora of information at your finger tips and I hope in a small part that I too am now contributing to that.

When I met my boyfriend (now husband) the one thing that impressed me the most was how intently he listened to what I was interested in. I told him I always wanted a camera and for my birthday he gifted me one. It changed my life, it wasn’t just a camera but a new set of eyeballs. I will be forever grateful. Now as an adult, a little older than my younger self, I am thrilled that there is a whole subset of photographers out there embracing the film medium and making it accessible to people like myself.  I was initially very frustrated with the information that was available about film photography.  When I first started dipping my toe into the analog photography waters I checked-out books from the library, but they all seemed over my head, I wanted to know how to be able to use film in the 21st century. As  I researched further, one name continued to pop-up time after time and that was Jonathan Canlas. Jonathan had started teaching workshops called Film is not dead.  The workshops were way out of my price range, since photography for me is a hobby and not my profession, I couldn’t justify the investment.  I did sign-up for Jonathan’s mailing list and was glad I did. The day his book with Kristen Kalp became available he announced it and I bought it.  It is by far the best book for a newbie to film in these modern times.  Jonathan’s style is more masculine than what I would shoot (or could shoot), the book is very no-nonsense and conversational.  He goes through everything–film, cameras, settings, film development with beautiful examples of his work throughout the book, all in a voice that is very easy to comprehend. If you have any interest in film photography buy this book!  I say buy rather than check-out at the library because I often find myself going back to it and looking things up, it’s a reference and I would be sad if I couldn’t have it at the ready.  It has made me covet medium format photography and I want a Contax 645 camera more than just about any camera (including the Canon Mark 5D III). If you are scratching your head and wondering where to start get the book!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.


  1. I also grew up in that era (ha-are we old?!)…I would feel so lost attempting film these days, but I’ve always had a fascination with it.

    1. Yes, we are THAT old;) I have to admit it is hard to break the habit of trying to look at the LCD screen after every film shot!

  2. I took a bio-photography class in college and developed a whole new level of respect for film photographers. IT.IS.HARD. But being in the darkroom and playing around with different developing techniques gives you a hands on feel for the whole process from shooting to the end product that is vastly different in the world of digital photography.

  3. I have an old school Pentax that I love, but need new batteries for. This book sounds amazing because I sadly forget a lot of things from my high school photography class. One of my goals is this summer to use the film camera!

    1. Jamine, I have been bidding on a couple old Pentax, they are what most art school students used to use when they took photography classes just work horses. There’s a 16 year old film shooter that uses one and I am amazed at her talent with this little camera!

  4. I still use my original Olympus OM1… I even remember the day my cousin helped me buy it in NYC while I was in high school …. I also remember years later, all the film I brought with me to photograph Harp Seals and how that camera actually froze as I pushed the shutter button in -40 temps {but the sun was out}!!! Tail wags ~moose

    1. Sara, it’s so true, if you look at the big film wedding photographers that are shooting today the Jose Villa, Elizabeth Messina, Jen Haung, the tones of their images are so beautiful that not even myself a Photoshop Jedi can mimic them!

  5. Hi Tristan! I’m happy to see that you have a interest in film photography. I took a class in college and fell in love with it. I didn’t use my film camera for years until recently. And I love it. I started a photography challenge to go to one place every month in NYC and document it with my camera, If you want to take a peek: http://newyorkthroughmylens.tumblr.com/

    I love the grainy texture in film and the colors are so vibrant, too. I love the Film is not dead site..I’m going to sign up to the newsletter, too!

    1. Monica your shots are OUTSTANDING and I love the lettering on your blog title, I may need to bother you with pesky questions!

    2. hi tristan, it took me too long to see this comment. thank you for your words. they’re very encouraging. the font i used on the blog title is Flood std. xoxo

  6. I never used properly a digital camera myself…i grew up wanting to learn about cameras and film developing and in high school had the chance to attend for three years to a professional course that was equivalent to high school and then in the university i continue my studies,but i have to say that i feel that all i know about film,photography i learned by myself,experimenting and spending endless nights at the lab my father built for me :)
    This book looks very interesting and i think i´m going to get a copy for myself!

    1. Oh, you may not like it if you already have a sense of shooting, he does love his medium format! I LOVE the idea of a darkroom. I only had a small window in school working in the darkroom (not even developing my own shots) and I know that feeling of the image coming to life is sheer magic!

  7. Glad I came by here by chance…I too am a film shooter, and own an embarrassing amount of film cameras! I started out shooting film at art school and have never embraced digital, I use my bathroom as my darkroom! However, I parted with my hard earned cash for Jonathan’s book and I was actually bitterly disappointed. He only talks in terms of medium format, he is too loyal to his (limited) camera and film choices with no interest in 35mm. I also think that the book is too geared to commercial photography rather than an artistic approach. Not for me I’m afraid, but yeah nice eye candy!
    Loving this film photography series by the way!

    1. I agree, but in fairness he does mention he’s not big on 35mm, and yes, he has given me some serious camera envy! Have you visited Nitsa’s blog? I really enjoy it for alternative film photography, she uses all sorts of cameras, I have learned so much from her blog:


    2. Thanks for that link, I remember Nista from way back (several years ago I used to run an film photography e-course and she was very helpful!) I have to confess I’d forgotten all about her blog, and yes it’s really interesting so I shall enjoy reading again!

    1. Hi Jaine! Be forewarned you will want to buy a very expensive medium format camera after reading it. I think you will love shooting film especially for weddings, the skin is SO creamy, zero time in post production and you don’t have to worry to much about blown highlights like you do for digital and it’s AWESOME! Good luck!

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