The greatness of film

David Hmmings in Blow-Up

I mean film photography, not movies. (Although don’t get me wrong, movies are also great.) Photographer Graham Carruthers has a blog post concerning the merits of film photography versus its more-efficient digital replacement. That post is a response to this article in PetaPixal about the sudden trendiness of film cameras among the “nostalgic hipster” set.

While I’m hardly a photographer, my limited experience with film has given me an appreciation for the joys of analog shooting. Here’s my comment on the blog:

Speaking as a hobbyist, I always enjoyed using my Nikon film SLR. Film has a tangible existence, which makes it seem more “real” than a digital file, and there is something cool about handling film – loading it into the camera, snapping the back shut and hearing the whir of the take-up spool, dropping off the roll at the local pharmacy and getting back an envelope full of prints and negatives that can be displayed, passed around, stored in an album… It’s definitely less convenient than digital but there is something special about the process that can’t be replicated on a computer screen. By the way, a professional photographer once told me that the best way to learn photography skills is to start with a film camera, because digital cameras make everything too easy.

And, of course, you can make art even with a chintzy disposable camera.

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