#Believeinfilm is the resource for all things film
I am very happy to be able to feature a little interview with Gordon Boddington, the man behind the wonderful Believeinfilm.com website, possibly the best resource for film on the web,
OK, welcome to JCH. Please introduce yourself for the readers.
My name is Gordon Boddington. I absolutely hate writing about myself but I’m honored to be featured on JCH so I will do my best.
In a photographic sense, my formative years were spent living on the side of a mountain in New Hampshire. Our neighborhood had once been a fashionable victorian resort community but by the time of my arrival had decayed into a child’s paradise of abandoned gardens and assorted hospitality ruins. One of my favorite pastimes as a kid was to take an old photograph of our neighborhood and attempt to find the exact location where it was taken.
Essentially my childhood front yard. There are far more trees here now.
I trace my love of photography to looking at old photographs and connecting with the images on a level I don’t feel when I look at paintings or other visual arts. In particular I loved tintypes, glass plates and stereoscopic views. There is just something so wonderful about the way they captures images that goes beyond the technique used to make them.
You are the man behind #believeinfilm. So why do you believe in film?
I returned to film photography because I was bored with my digital cameras. I had seen a blog post about riding a bicycle through Russia shot on a Lomo LC-A and I connected with the images in a way I wasn’t with the results from my Canon G9. I scoured ebay and bought my own.
My first film image after 10 years of digital.
I took my Lomo everywhere. I snuck it into abandoned mental hospitals, the attic of state offices and most importantly had an enormous amount of fun shooting with it. I think a lot of my love for my Lomo and the film cameras I have now is that I feel they bring me closer to the origin of my love for photography. For example, I recently purchased a 100 year old Kodak Brownie and I have been taking it around to all the locations I used to look at in old photos. It is fun to use the old Brownie and the results are interesting and sometimes surprisingly modern looking.
Brownie No.2 Kodak TMAX 400
How did you get started with the site?
I live in a rural area and I needed a way to collect and share film photography resources. When I went to expand my first website photomfa.com I decided to start fresh with a cool new name. I knew that I wanted the new name to sound positive and get away from the notions of film and dead. I had seen various concepts I liked online but none of them clicked. I liked the word believe because it was both positive and strong. One day it just sort of hit me and I registered BelieveInFilm.com. While I was figuring out what I was actually going to do with the website I started using the name on twitter as a hashtag. I have a few failed start dotcoms under my belt and so I’m still amazed at the success of BelieveInFilm but I’m glad that it is connecting with people and encouraging others to fall in love with film photography.
Where would you like to see #believeinfilm going in the future?
In the very near future I will be launching new features including some sort of classifieds or clearinghouse for used darkroom equipment. I’d like to start promoting more tweetups to get people together and shooting more film on a regular basis. For the last year or so I’ve been working with hotel owners to have an event in the White Mountains. I’d love to have an official meetup someplace beautiful in 2013. On the financial side of things I have been toying with the idea doing some crowdfunding to turn BelieveInFilm.com into a cooperative of independent camera stores and photo labs. I also have the fantasy of purchasing some coating equipment and making my own film stock.
Now, as this is about cameras and all that, do you have a favourite camera and film?
Everyone loves Tri-X and I do too. I’m very much in love right now with my Olympus XA but my Bessa R3M will always have a place in my heart even though she is falling to pieces from overuse. I shoot a lot of Kodak film but have looking to try more Fuji. I don’t really buy a lot of gear but I would love to maybe get a Leitz Summar 50f2 or one the C Sonnar T* 50mm f/1.5 ZM. I love the way old glass looks in black and white.
If there was one film that you could revive, what would it be?
I’d bring back the whole AGFA line. I want character and I loved how AGFA films had a unique slightly dated look. Some of my favorite shots were taken with my Lomo and old Agfa stock. Agfa Ultra 50 was really wonderful. I called it Florida film because it gave any scene a bright Miami look.
Have you noticed the trend for film going up recently?
I have worked really hard to build relationships with film producers and to remind them that film market still exists. I have not always been successful but I see a lot more interest in film photography on twitter and on facebook. I think the challenge is to promote film photography and make it cool while still keeping it fun and friendly.
Any messages for the film lovers out there?
Don’t give up, keep on shooting. The companies that make the film we love don’t always know how to promote it. It is really up to us to keep film alive by buying it, shooting it and letting them know we love it.
Thanks for the interview Gordon, I am very happy to have you on the site. It is great to hear your thoughts and how you got started.
If you have not heard of #believeinfilm then you should check out then shame on you, you really need to check the site out and go follow them on twitter. A fantastic resource.