2.17.2011

Film is Not Dead: A Digital Photographer's Guide to Shooting Film. A Review

Film is Not Dead: A Digital Photographer's Guide to Shooting Film by Jonathan Canlas is good. It is not perfect. It will not teach you everything you ever wanted to know about film--it will likely create more questions. It will, however, teach you what questions to ask. It will pique your interest in shooting film, and it will help you build a rock-solid foundation in shooting film. Rock-solid.

It's written in Jon's voice. If I didn't know Jon personally, this writing style would probably bother me. A lot. That's the editor in me speaking (I got my editing degree before I became a photographer). The book is colloquial, for better or for worse. It was written that way intentionally, and it definitely sounds like Jon. He often speaks in clich├ęs and colloquialisms, so it is appropriate that the book be filled with them. Some may be off-put by the conversational tone, as it is less "textbook" or "professional" than most photography books. But this is no typical photography book. As I was reading, I could actually hear Jon's intonations, see his crazy facial expressions, and imagine his big, brown hands waving in the air. To that end, Jon, you've achieved your goal. Readers will get to know Jon Canlas in addition to learning how to shoot film. That's a bonus in my book.

From a technical standpoint, it cannot be argued that Jon knows his stuff. And he's sharing it with us! He explains the basic ins and outs of shooting film from why he does it, how he does it, and what he does it with; not only that, but he describes it in a way that is comprehensible to the newest of photographers. So anyone, yes, anyone, can get out there and shoot film!

Typographically speaking, there were some distractions. Not with the design, organization, or flow--it is neat, tidy, and visually appealing. But for me, the use of all caps is obnoxious and does not add positive emphasis, especially when it's used in that scripty title font. That breaks basic design rules. There were also some minor grammatical problems that could have easily been fixed with a quick run-through by a technical editor. But if those are the biggest flaws with the book, I say run with it.

Overall, I give this guide a solid 9.5/10. If you have any interest in shooting film, I highly recommend purchasing this guide. Yes, I get a coupla bucks if you buy it, but I'd be promoting it even if I weren't. This is quality I can stand behind. You won't regret it. You can buy it


Pick it up before February 23rd, when the price increases from $89 to $149! Remember, the first five people to purchase will get a couple rolls of my very favorite film (bw400CN) in 35mm in hand to get them started on their film journey!

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