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Film Phony? – Why film is more than a trend.

Updated: Jan 29, 2019


Easton Plourde

Certainly as it comes as no news; Analog, film, vinyl etc. are all the trend right now. So it got me to thinking. Film can’t be (should not be) a trend. The fact of the matter is that many of us take for granted the time of actually working in a dark room. Many of the kids today will never even see a dark room. Film photography classes in schools have now switched to a digital process. This isn’t happening in just high schools and prep schools, it’s happening in colleges and universities as well.

“So why use film?” I, like many others, get this question often. We can all agree it’s the older, slower method, but what do we have to gain?

Learning from an analog format teaches better fundamentals and camera mechanics. Most intro point and shoot cameras or cell phone cameras won’t even have manual adjustments visible. If they do, they are buried under settings and menus. Knowing exposure, aperture (f-stop), and shutter speed is education. Without education, no appreciation can come. This has been the case in today's world of cellphones. What can one do in a world that only knows automatic cameras?

The point being that we draw in 2-D before learning 3-D. The hand whisk is still in the bakery. One must learn to crawl before they walk.

{ Same image }

Photos of ( shot with film) & ( Digital - canon 6dMII )

Sometimes It’s just a feeling or mood you are looking to capture. This shows a side by side of the same image one taken with...

As we grow, we start to demand more from our products. We tend to have the classic case of not appreciating what we have in front of us. Thinking that a new lens or gizmo will make us great. When the honest fact of the matter is we need to practice, get outside or set up the studio and pull the shutter over and over.

How To Decide: Film or Digital?

Those who are new to the art form aren’t sure if they should pick film or digital. To them I say the classic saying, “The best camera is the one that you have on you”. It starts from the thought. The looking and searching in day to day actions. Use a cellphone to start or a friend who has a camera. Set aside time and grow with what you are attracted to.

On the other side, seasoned photographers tend to get pigeonholed. Working with the same set- up and subjects. Branch out, take the plunge and use a tool you are not used to working with. If you shoot film, the speed of digital/instant may open your eyes to how many photos we see in one day. If you have only used digital, the time and care one must take to develop may give you an eye opening perception into the past.

When we are taught fundamentals we have more appreciation of the task at hand. Carrying the weight of just 24-36 images and reviewing them. Asking more questions as to why we take the photos we take. This sense of slow moving eyes and predicting the shot keeps me focused.

At the end of the day the camera is just a device (tool) of expression. The true understanding comes from the drive (passion) to preserve and express whatever you may place in front of your lens.

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