The Ten Commandments of Film Photography

Proverbs 18:2 states “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”

I’m not a religious guy but I heard this Bible passage recently and immediately thought of the litany of misinformation and poor demeanor that I have seen posted ad nauseam on film photography forums for the last 20 years.  I’ve tried to chisel away at some of the bullshit with responses to these posts as well as dedicated blogs but thought it was about time to draft a singular doctrine.

And remember, I am not God.  But I do talk to the Great Yellow God.  And I may just be a fool myself.  But here goes…

1–Thou shalt not hoard cameras or lenses.  Bestow excess equipment upon those who may resurrect it.

2—-Thou shalt not use cameras or lenses that have not been professionally cleaned, lubed and adjusted.  Love is a verb, not a noun.

3–Thou shalt not hoard film that is still in production.  Thou shall buy fresh film and shoot and process in a timely fashion.

4–Thou shalt not avoid hand-checking thy film at airports and other security check-points, no matter the ISO.

5–Thou shalt not blame thy tools.  Seek to improve thyself, not thy equipment.

6–Thou shalt not mock young brothers or sisters for their style or self-righteousness no matter how seemingly misguided or uninformed.  Hipsters are people too.

7–Thou shalt not alienate brothers and sisters who do not kneel at the altar of the Darkroom.  Remember, Virgin Mary Adobe gave birth to Jesus Christ Photoshop for the love of film.

8–Thou shalt not criticize adherents of brands of camera and lens of which thou are not an adherent.  You know that you secretly wish for Leica.

9–Thou shalt not speaketh non-factual bullshit about digital photography.  It’s not 2001 anymore, digital cameras no longer suck.

10–Thou shalt not post more photos of thy film camera than photos from thy film camera unless photos of thy film camera were taken with thy other film camera.

Well, the Great Yellow God has spoken through me!  Did He leave anything out?  What do you think?  You wanna start a religion?  Have we already?

Thanks for reading, and please, let’s be good to each other!

Follow, Favorite, Like, Add, Contact Johnny Martyr 






12 thoughts on “The Ten Commandments of Film Photography

    1. Wow, those are some tough rules! I have the same problem. A pile of cameras that need attn that have been difficult to get rid of. Reminds me not to bother buying anything but GOOD, WORKING cameras that I expect to use now. My hoarding days are over!


  1. “Thou shalt think before thou shootest”
    “Thou shalt not say I am a photographer…
    Thou shalt be a photographer..”
    “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of critics i shall fear no evil
    for my art is with me oh glass and film..”
    “May the focus be with you…always…”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. All Joking aside, I have been instructed by a mysterious group known as The Order of Daguerre (keepers of the spool) and they believe that the Yellow God (known to them as the Golden Orb) way have spoke through you and you might be hailed as the new prophet. Expect to be contacted privately to be invited into their ranks…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe that the Great Yellow God wants film photographers to support the dramatically shrunken repair industry and to ensure that we are caring for our equipment so that it lasts as long as possible and our photos come out as nicely as possible. Personally, I cheat on this a bit sometimes but factually, all mechanical cameras should be fully CLA’d every 10 or 15 years from what I’ve read of recommendations by Nikon and Leica. Failing to do so means that lubricants aren’t going to be doing their job correctly anymore and wear on the mechanisms will occur with each use. But probably like yourself, cameras I don’t use for paid work or that are very very cheap, I just can’t justify the cost/time to have CLA’d. My gear for paid work and more expensive gear is always CLA’d though. Thanks for your question.


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