Couple of days ago I was listen to an interesting talk on the radio while I was heading to the mountains for my first snowboard ride this winter. Neil Young, Canadian rock musician said “A lot of people who buy vinyl today don’t realize that they’re listening to CD masters on vinyl, and that’s because the record companies have figured out that people want vinyl. And they’re only making CD masters in digital, so all the new products that come out on vinyl are actually CDs on vinyl” Actually that’s not right. A lot of new tracks today are only available for records but anyway this is not the point here.
The point is, is this the same thing with film photography these days? It seems that the use of film is making a come back. When I was starting my photography thing a couple of years ago, my first camera was a Nikon F3, some film and darkroom equipment. I didn’t like the pictures of the digital cameras, but this was not the fault of the equipment I used at all, it was the lack of my knowledge who brought me into analogue photography. Later I switched to digital photography and now I am using both mediums, but this is a different story.
We all know that in many ways digital photography has big advantages over film photography, but why are so many of us are still drawn to it – me included? Is it the fact running around with a 6×6 Hasselblad or a big 4×5 large format camera makes you the “real” photographer, the better one or is just because it’s en vogue and you want to show the world that you are able to use film?
Well, I don’t think so. In my opinion using film is neither a fashion statement nor en vogue. It’s an experience, an adventure to design and create something you don’t see right away. The whole process until you hold a finished negative or slide in your hand is accompanied by many possible mistakes. The slightest mistake in this “developing chain” could lead to a major problem and the picture you created might be gone forever. For myself, holding a negative or slide film in my hand is a sort of final product compared to a digital file. It is also the knowledge that’s one of a kind. I know some people might say, you can tape you displays if you don’t want to see the preview. Yeah, right!? Who the hell does i? I’ve never seen somebody doing this…
Anyway I truly believe that the future of film is reserved for medium- and large format photography. 35mm film might only be good for lomography or some mixed media experiments. Despite that I highly recommend to try film photography. You will be surprised how different the pictures are and I don’t mean necessarily in quality, sharpness, low noise …..
PS: For everybody who wants to know what kind of holder I use. It’s a wooden/carbon fibre 4×5 holder made from chamonix, a chinese camera company specialised in large format cameras. They are lighter than the plastic ones from fidelity.