People Who Shoot Film: Sean Dackermann

photographer Sean Dackermann

photographer Sean Dackermann

Today’s film photographer is Sean Dackermann! He is based in Harford County and typically shoots digital and studio work, most recognizably in black and white. His main focus is people, with another focus in concert photography. His work in portraiture and concert photojournalism has been published in various magazines.

See more of his work here!

How long have you been shooting film?
Since 2006.

Who/what got you started on shooting with film?
I started photography roughly in 2005. I grew up drawing, painting, and using airbrush and during classes in high school and I would use portraits in my collection of magazines (mostly hip hop) . I thought to myself that it’d be really awesome to be on the other side of that transaction and be able to create images that would hopefully inspire someone else to replicate them in their chosen medium. After I graduated in 2004, I would borrow my sister’s (she was going to college for Photography at the time. Our father did photography in college, as well as other forms of art too) Pentax and go shoot around. Seeing what she was creating with the camera inspired me as well. I still remember  this amazing black and white shot she took at a car meet of a Supra doing a burnout. It was grainy, raw, and exciting. Shortly after, my now Brother-in-law got a hold of a Nikon N6006 and said if I helped him build a shed he’d give it to me as payment. I still shoot with that camera as much as possible.

What camera do you shoot with?
For film I’ve used (which I think any 35mm shooter has probably used at some point in their life) Pentax K1000, NIkon FG, and Nikon N6006. Hopefully a Pentax 645 soon! 🙂

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

What type of film do you use?
TMAX 100 and 400, and Fuji Provia

What photo are you most proud of?
I really want to be able to limit this to just one. But I can’t. I’d like to say my favorite photos are ones that serve a specific purpose, but also create an additional layer of information that the viewer can tap into if they so choose.
What do you think of digital film filters?
I have a love/hate relationship with it. I think it’s cool to see what people are doing with Photoshop to create an almost authentic film feel to their work. But I also hate it, because why not just shoot film? The beauty of light leaks was the mystery of them, and the gratitude of when they worked perfectly with the negative they were placed on. The beauty of that film feel is the process it takes to get to that final print. Digital is instant, film is a process that is rewarding on multiple levels. I remember one time I saw an established Photographer that shoots digital say that all his light leaks were real and not added afterwards..I wanted to throw my computer out a window after that one.
photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

What do you think of the “film is dead” attitude?

I think people that say “film is dead” are people that would rather receive a nice text message instead of a thoughtful hand written letter. Film is most certainly not dead. A lot of companies still use film. The motion picture industry still uses film as much as possible. If it’s shot on IMAX (Image Maximum) , it’s film (negatives that are almost the size of 120 film as a matter of fact – whoa) Film no longer became prevalent when the industry decided to switch to digital. Rolex, used film for a very long time, and still might unless they are using medium format for their ads. They would use 8×10 cameras for their ad work, because it was practically a 100% replication onto the ad space so you were getting crystal clear clarity. We are a society controlled by having what we want when we want it. In that aspect, we have lost appreciation for the beauty of film. Digital SLR’s were not surpassing film for a while when they were first introduced, it was for the convenience. The first DSLR’s were pushing at the most 2-4 mp’s, where as a properly scanned 35mm neg will yield an average 8mp file with a much better dynamic range. Now, it can be argued what digital is doing against the film world, but overall the true purpose was speed and convenience, not quality. Shooting film, once you get to that final print you’ve really put in some work. Not to say we don’t with digital, because working in Lightroom and Photoshop together surely will take hours on end. But with film, you shot your image. Then you thought “did I get it?”. If you processed your own film, you had to make sure you didn’t screw up that step. Once you had your developed roll of film, it was time to make a print and get that just how you saw it in the viewfinder. Three chances to screw it up, means three times the satisfaction once you get that final print and the outcome is exactly how you expected. LONG LIVE FILM!
photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

photo courtesy of Sean Dackermann

Great photo work! Love the color and texture use. Thanks for sharing, Sean 🙂

Want to be featured? Submit your film work! Send 5-10 images to kaitlinelnewman@gmail.com 😀

5 thoughts on “People Who Shoot Film: Sean Dackermann

  1. I totally agree with Sean on the “film is dead” issue. I remember hearing that noise over a decade ago when the technology was still crap. It was clever marketing and the camera companies basically tricked consumers into bankrolling a decade of R&D to get us to where we are now. In that process, they robbed a entire generation from decent childhood photos and bankrupted the film companies and destroyed the processing industry. All on a marketing lie.

    What was once a ONE HOUR process of dropping your film off at a lab and then picking it back up (for a totally reasonable fee) has turned into spending all night in Photoshop trying to coax your images to not look flat and dead. And it saddens me that access to those cheap, fast, and high-quality labs is now a thing of history.

    • Not all cheap good quality labs are dead! I currently go to Ritz One Hour for all my film processing (in color) and they do a wonderful job. As for b&w I go to Tech Lab and they aren’t too expensive either. If it is too expensive or if it ever gets to the point where I have to send off my film, I much rather put out the extra cash than use Photoshop on my film work. Target still processes film too as well as CVS!

      • I feel like those labs in bigger cities can hold out longer by closing multiple locations… but for the rest of us, they just don’t exist. Unfortunately, the only local minilabs left in my area have proved to be dramatically overpriced and under quality. Everyone seems to be reusing chemicals for longer and cleaning protocols appear to have gone totally out the window. Newer stores coming into the area, like newer Walmarts, Targets, and drugstore have been built without photo labs at all for years now.

      • Awhh man. That sucks. Where are you located? I haven’t ever tried a mail order lab before, have you? I wanted to see how it compared in price and processing to the expensive labs that seem to be the only option. And yes, Ritz closed so many stores. I was surprised to find that a good amount of them are still floating around. I didn’t know that most supercenters were actually built without photo labs. A friend of mine works at Target and gets his film done there often. I know a lot of CVS’s are still built with film processing.

  2. Also, I loved this: “I think people that say “film is dead” are people that would rather receive a nice text message instead of a thoughtful hand written letter.” SO TRUE. Such a great analogy. 🙂

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