Recently I came across a book by Darren Sylvester called Compass Point after I photographed Darren for a friend's magazine called World's Only. Chatting to Darren about the book, he talked about how when he shot the book, he knew he didn't want to do a whole lot of post, so he went and bought a bunch of old school Cokin filters (mostly from bargain bins in camera stores, as they're not popular now, at all) and used them to create the gorgeous images in the book.
I was really struck by this. Back when we shot film, the creative decision had to be made at the time of shooting. You had to commit; you'd use the appropriate film to create the look you wanted, and if you wanted to use a filter, you had to make the right call then and there. Back then, a filter was a piece of glass you put in front of your lens; not a button you push on Instagram. Once it was on, it was on.
Now that we shoot digital, the idea of committing to something at the time of creation is becoming less and less talked about. Sure, we select the correct lens for the job etc, but pretty much everything else is done in post. Of course, this allows huge amounts of flexibility and enourmous possibilities, but there's something to be said for making a choice at square one, and seeing it through; limiting possibilites and really honing something.
After shooting Darren, I immediately started scouring Ebay for daggy old 80's filters and they finally arrived this week, so of course I made my girlfriend and her mate go stand under out under our magnolia tree while I waved these amazing pieces of glass in front of my lens. So cool. I love the results. I think I made Kersty and Jen look like they're in an all girl shoe-gaze band.