Film Photography at a glance

Let me preface this by saying I do like film photography. I guess there’s something about not knowing what you’ve taken and the anticipation of getting it back days, weeks or even months later that’s exciting. And occasionally, I actually get a passable shot.

Some people will tell you they do film photography because it feels more ‘real’ or it evokes more ‘emotion’. Some people will also say it feels more ‘authentic’ and I suppose some people just want to wear dungarees with thin rimmed glasses, listen to records and shoot film. There can also be a certain level of pretentiousness you get with film photography. You only need to read a few posts on r/analog as evidence of that. A recent comment where someone said they didn’t want to do an edit because it was ‘to digital’ was a high point.

My SLR does usually have a place in my bag. Alongside my digital camera, and my phone when I go out. But the primary feeling I get is usually disappointment. Not only when my photos come back blank, out of focus or just shit. But because I have paid over the odds for the privilege.

Kodak Portra 400

Digital is just Better

Let’s face the facts though, digital is just better and much more convienient. Like it is in almost all aspects of the world, there is rarely a digital alternative that worsens a process or service. Spotify is better than CDs, MRI machines are better than witch doctors, email is better than the Royal Mail, Netflix is better than Blockbuster etc. That’s why you’re reading this on your smartphone and not hearing it via the town crier.

There’s also nothing you can’t create on film that can’t be bettered on digital. If you like the look of a particular film stock it really isn’t that tough to recreate it in Lightroom, plus there’s countless apps to do it in a tap.

Which is probably why I feel disappointment when I get shots back. Knowing that I could have got the same look, feel or effect, but free of charge, and almost instantly.

Kodak Ultramax 400

Ilford HP5 400

Having said all that I’ll probably continue to use film photography occasionally. It adds some much needed excitement to my life when I am waiting for the film to come back. Followed by the crippling disappointment when I finally receive the scans.