Film Wins For Me

I was always knocked down for not taking life very seriously. Even something as important to me as film photography deserves a bit of whimsy. When I first started shooting film there were a lot of problems. I can't tell you how many times I left my local lab kicking myself because I had another unexposed roll. Forgetting to check the shutter, rewinding film incorrectly, over and underexposing my shots... the list of my mistakes could take up their own separate entry. All of these could've been avoided if I was more serious about my hobby. I'll admit what made me fall in love with film was getting back a near perfect roll from my dad's Mamiya/Sekor 1000DTL. I used this fully manual camera without knowing the difference between aperture and focal length. The results made me ecstatic.

A few rolls later, when I started getting shots I liked that weren't "throw-aways" I decided to do the required reading. I spent hours reading online and print resources and stumbled upon the beauty of I remember how excited I was to have found a community of people who created images as I did. Prior to this I truly thought I was one out of a few people still using film as a medium. I called my family and friends and told them I was going to start my own website dedicated to film photography. I figured that if I was young and interested in the craft, there had to be others out there who would appreciate watching my experiences and maybe even learning from them. Thus, was born. I never created my website to compete with this one (that would've been really silly), but as my own way of sharing work from others and/or myself and inspiring people along the way.

People ask me all the time why I sold my digital cameras. The answer to that isn't so black and white. Digital cameras are only worth so much for so little time. I figured something I barely used should be sold before it was worthless. I enjoy certain aspects of digital photography such as image manipulation, no restrictions on the number of frames that can be shot, and ease of sharing online. I just hate the workflow. It doesn't excite me. I prefer to make my images inside the camera rather than on the computer. Granted, there's always some fiddling around in Photoshop that can enhance your film images but I don't like it taken to an extreme. This is all a matter of personal preference. It doesn't mean I hate digital photographers or think less of them - in my own life film wins.

Shooting film frustrates the hell out of me. I have missed some beautiful shots due to ignorance. I've experimented and failed miserably. I stated before I have a bit of a whimsical approach to my photography. This doesn't mean I enjoy and embrace my mistakes. One aesthetically pleasing mistake out of 10 awful shots isn't what drives me back to shooting film. The pursuit of perfection does. Each time I screw up I'm more inspired to do well with the next roll. Shooting film forces me to go back and realize what I've done wrong so I won't waste money with the next try. Some say film is merciless. This can be true. Film is also forgiving and versatile (urine developing anyone?). There exists a kind balance that allows you to obtain great results and want to do better at the same time.

There is something incredibly satisfying about getting awesome negatives back from the lab, or having prints made that look great, or hanging up your own negatives and waiting for them to dry. The anticipation before a roll and the satisfaction directly after keep me coming back for more. The multitude of film types and emulsions, the quality of cameras from the past, the history behind photography, these are all things I love about film photography. While I feel as though I have just entered this world of film, I don't see myself leaving any time soon. I'm infatuated with everything film related.

My name is Kiely. I'm 21 years old and I just bought an entire darkroom set-up 3 days ago. I developed my first roll of film last month. I don't believe any garbage that says, 'film is dead," because in my life film has just been born.

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You've found your home with analog photography. Sometime I even wonder if we shouldn't have a different name for digital photography. After all, it is not true photography in the sense that silver halide is not a part of its process. So how can it be call photography?

Thank you for sharing your experience with film. I think the future looks bright to analog photography!