Your Own Ideas

July 27, 2011   Posted by Justin Stephens

The thing that got me hooked into the film game initially was photography. The magic of loading a roll of film, shooting it, not knowing if you actually got the shot or not, developing it, and realizing right then if you either nailed it or missed the shot was extremely fun and exciting to me. This process slowly turned into a passion for shooting 16mm film, and I eventually began to build a career in the action sports community around that platform….I immediately became conflicted though when all of these new digital formats made their way onto the scene though, and I had to make a few thick decisions about my workflow and delivery process

I love and embrace new technology, however the idea of somewhat letting go of that magical process to me felt like I was not only killing what I loved about filmmaking so much, but I felt like I was somewhat betraying my foundation as a filmmaker. Everyone else around me starting to take advantage of this new opportunity, and getting their projects to market faster and less expensively as well. (This was indeed quite appealing to me.) Not to mention the digital formats that we’re making their way to market looked amazing, and it was hard to deny the fact that they were becoming valid solutions to the modern day filmmakers workflow.

I eventually bit the bullet and dropped in, but I promised myself that if I was going to do it that I would always shoot my digital cameras the same way I that I shot my film cameras. Carefully, and calculated. Over time what I realized more and more was that the format that I was shooting in became absolutely secondary to what it actually was that was going on inside of me creatively. I realized that for me, the format was only my collection and distribution opportunity, however could NEVER replace the actual execution of my own ideas. Your ideas are what really translate and resonate with people…Not what kinda of equipment you have or the camera you shoot…


In my 16mm days … Photo: Josh Letchworth Photography

6 Comments to “Your Own Ideas”

  1. Skylar Topham says:

    What a solid write up, I’m always super exited to read a JS post. He’s a person who’s seriously driven by pure passion.

  2. Wes says:

    wow this is great. really heart felt

  3. Your passion is something I can relate to 100%. Keep your dreams alive, brother.
    BTW ur video work in “The Sylvester”… Top notch!


  4. It’s crazy how much the tech of our past helps shape our talents and abilities. I’ve always felt that understanding the “film cameras” of my industry gives me an edge over those who haven’t taken the opportunity to do so. Good post Justin.

  5. See, I started out using digital cameras and when I learned how to shoot and develop a film camera, I was blown away. I appreciate photography way MORE than I did in the past. And you’re right, it’s not so much the tool you use but the method you use….

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