A Dancer and her feet. 35mm film. Oldest School.

I don't ever remember worrying about grain or noise when I shot film.  It was what it was.  I'd load the camera with Tri-X and try to do right by it.  Sometimes I underexposed and it looked one way and sometimes I'd overexpose and it would look another way.  But we mostly took what we got and reveled in the way the images looked.

I tried to spend as much time as I could over one summer here in Austin with a group of dancers.  They were fun, beautiful and glamorous.  We'd spend afternoons in a second story dance studio over what is now an endless row of music clubs on Sixth St. and the dancers would dance and I'd make images of them.  Most of the negatives are lost to the shifting sands of time and bad conservation.  Every now and then I'll come across another set and print them.  Not once have I thought that it would have been any better if I'd been able to reach into the future and grab a noise free,  digital camera to work with.  A guilty confession?  I like grain.


  1. And will our latest and greatest digital cameras deliver the creamy highlights in those bright sun area?

  2. I can remember developing Tri-X in D76 and sometimes Rodinal, if I wanted marbles. I would just love to know what the resolution of, say a Summilux 35mm f1.4 was then under those circumstances expressed in today's terms, e.g., 1900 linesby x lines.

  3. I like grain too. But I do not like noise. film vs digital. We have gained much in the last ten years but we certainly lost something as well.

  4. The laughable thing is in our digital age that so many photographers try and match film grain so cloesly with their digital files. They dream for the perfect match of Tri-X grain .... Uh....Why not use Tri-X? :-)

    No problem for me, fridge is loaded up with rolls of Tri-X and Neopan. Simple.

  5. I've really enjoyed reading your posts about noise. It has made me look back at some of my older pictures that I loved and were not "technically clean" compared to the standards of today. It's just time to take good pictures and not worry if there is some noise or not.


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