A Diana in Paris
by Maria Luci
Some things are inherently romantic: long walks on the beach, starry winter nights, and of course, Paris, France. And what better way to capture the romance, texture, and beauty of “The City of Light” than on film? India-based photographer Adil Jain recently visited Paris and decided that, for the first time in seven years, it was time to shoot with film again. And for Adil, there was no better complement for the charm and elegance found in Paris than the equally alluring 1960’s film camera, the Diana.
Although I had my Canon 5D Mark II with me, I was keen to take more fine-artsy images. The limitations of the camera—the distorted plastic lenses, the infinite multiple exposure capability, and all the other things characteristic of this sort of camera—allowed me to think about what it is that I was pointing at in a whole new way. Thoughts that I do not have, can not have, with a DSLR in my hand.
“I grew up processing my own film and making fiber prints,” Adil says. But in 2005, he made his transition to digital with a Nikon D2X, and hadn’t revisited the dark room since. Adil’s been itching to get back to his analog roots for awhile now, knowing that, for all its advantages, there are some things that just can’t be done digital. Diving back in while in Paris with his Diana reinvigorated his passion for film,
When I saw the results two weeks later in Bombay, I was astounded by how the images automatically lent themselves to the ancient look of old daguerreotypes and early 20th century tin plate collodion cityscapes. The grain and texture were stunningly evocative. I guess this feel can be reproduced in digital post, but would be an after thought—it isn’t inherent to the digital medium.
Adil believes that certain projects and subjects merit the use of film over digital—such as Notre Dame. His favorite shot from his entire Paris roll is of the cathedral because “it has so much texture and is, to me, quintessentially Paris.”
His desire to shoot film reawakened, Adil now hopes to use his Diana in a few upcoming editorial assignments. The feedback on the Paris Diana photographs have been great. “I haven’t gotten specific feedback about what they liked best,” he says of the series, “but I can only assume they felt something different. He now hopes projects like this will inspire budding photographers to spend some time in the dark room before diving into digital—”getting their hands wet, literally, will serve them in great stead in the digital realm.”
View more of at adiljain.com.