When I first fell in love with taking photographs, as a tweeny, digital photography didn’t exist in the mainstream. My father taught my sisters and I how to take pictures using his old Ricoh analogue SLR with a 50ml lens attached. It was fully manual including focus and light metering.
After learning how to process film and make prints, at high-school and then art school, I fell even more in love and felt like I had found my calling. In the darkroom I was an alchemist mixing chemicals and creating magic.
Recently film photography has been making a come back and gaining popularity. We’re all hungry for the rich and creamy colours, the grainy black and whites, the soft focus and all that depth. I too have been experimenting with film again and falling back in love with the art of it.
On the flip side; film is expensive to buy and process, every frame has to be carefully composed, focused, and exposed. The process is long, slightly unpredictable and requires a lot of discretion. Full frame and medium format digital cameras – while expensive – are getting better and better even producing results reminiscent of those achieved with film.
Perhaps for the mainstream photographer using digital alone is satisfying. The results are fairly reliable and mistakes can often be corrected.
So the question we may all be asking ourselves is do we really need film photography – where does it stand going forward.
For me, even if one day it does become obsolete, Film photography can never be replaced. Much like tin type and hand tinted photography the magical results cannot be produced by any other process. Yes photography is about more than art it is about history, society, documentary, humanity, discovery and without digital photography much may have been lost.
Through the media and especially via the internet our minds are being saturated with digital imagery, much of it manipulated and re-touched, fueling an unhealthy obsession with perfection.
Shooting with film is honest, it’s exciting and refreshing – it reminds me to think about what I’m shooting and why, what am I trying to say with this image – why am I saying it. Everything comes down to carefully planning for a moment, then being ready to capture that moment without flinching when it comes.
Its like playing the game instead of just watching it.
After six years shooting in digital I’ve been re-inspired by the art form I first fell in love with. You can expect to see a lot more of my work using film from now on.
I hope you’ll agree that film photography is a here to stay xx