This 21st century is far more complex than the last one. In that 21st if the black phone rang you answered it. Now we have multiple options and even the ring has been made obsolete. Your phone might alert you with Art Bergmann’s Hawaii.
Photographic equipment is now very complex. The mantra of the 20th was “Form Follows Function”. Stuff looked clean and simple because it was so. Now, that has been reversed to Function Follows Form. Cameras are complicated and none have a button that leaves the camera as you want it. At any given moment that wonderful digital camera will exercise its prerogative of inanimate free will and do something that even your camera manual will not be able to help you.
|Kodak Special Order 410|
But for a long time I have indulged in a fairly complicated shooting technique. It may have begun in 1977 on Wreck Beach when I photographed a lovely MW with four cameras. One had Kodachrome, another had Koda b+w Infrared Film, a third had Kodak Plus-X and the fourth a new-fangled film called Kodak Special Order 410 (it subsequently became Special Order 115 and from there it was launched as the sharpest and finest grain film ever manufactured, Kodak Technical Film. Both the 410 and the Infrared film had extra sensitivity to red light and rendered human bodies beautifully.
Consider that I may have used the same lens with all four cameras so this involved screwing and unscrewing those Pentax lenses. And the speed of those films were all different so I had to be careful how I used my light meter. The Kodak Infrared Film camera had a deep red filter and the lens has to be re-focused to the infrared film spectrum. I could not use that red filter with the other cameras.
|Kodak Black + White Infrared Film|
To this day in my little Kitsilano studio when photograph anybody I will use my digital Fuji X-E3, a Mamiya with two backs, one with colour negative film and the other with b+w film. Sometimes I will use a third back with Rollei 120 Infrared Film. And I might use a couple of Nikon FM-2s.
My peers tell me that I make my life much to complicated and that with one digital camera I can cover all those bases. My counter argument is that every one of those digital variations, (colour, b+w, etc) will still be that of ONE take.
|Kodak Plus X Film|
There is a charm when your subjects may move or shift thepose while you pick up a different camera. I love that randomness.
And so for me sometimes Function Follows Form.
But this technique that I practice for my personal projects, was not always the one I used for magazine jobs. Film was expensive so in the 80s I might have shot three jobs with one roll of 36 exposures 35mm film. Or one that used to scare magazine art directors was when I showed up with only three shots knowing that one of them would be the one they would use. And of course digital wedding photographers take thousands in one day.
And why not, here is a technique of mine in 2022 (45 years later from these Wreck Beach photographs) which is a scan of two negatives and since I scan in RGB I have given it a blue colour.