5 Reasons Film Photography Transforms My Creative Journey
5 Reasons Film Photography Transforms My Creative Journey

5 Reasons Film Photography Transforms My Creative Journey

Digital vs. Film

Every time I pack my bag for a photography trip, I’m faced with the perennial decision: do I bring the film camera or not? Film or digital? More often than not, my trusty Bronica ETRSi finds its way into my backpack alongside my Canon 5DSR. In this digital age, where pixels dominate and the photography film vs digital question arises, the allure of film photography beckons with a promise of a more profound and personal creative experience.

1. Simplicity in the Process

The allure of film photography, for me, is intricately tied to the simplicity it reintroduces into the photographic process. In an era dominated by the technological marvels of digital cameras, the decision to embrace film is a deliberate choice to strip away the layers of complexity that often accompany modern photography.

Digital cameras, while undoubtedly powerful and versatile, can become a double-edged sword. The abundance of features, such as unintentional crop modes and extensive menu systems, may, at times, inadvertently complicate the fundamental act of capturing an image. In the realm of digital photography, the sheer variety of options can introduce an element of unpredictability, potentially diverting attention from the core artistic process.

Film, however, beckons with a return to the basics – a simplicity that resonates with the essence of photography itself. Shutter speed, aperture, and focus become the guiding principles, allowing the photographer to focus on the fundamentals of their craft. This intentional simplification is not a rejection of technological advancements but a conscious choice to prioritise the tactile and fundamental aspects of image creation.

The film process, devoid of digital intricacies, fosters a more straightforward and immersive photographic experience. There’s a joy in setting the shutter speed dial, adjusting the aperture on the lens, and manually selecting the focus point – actions that forge a direct connection between the photographer and the art they’re creating. It becomes more than just capturing an image; it transforms into a deliberate and mindful act.

Simplicity Through Film

In essence, the simplicity of film photography is a return to the roots of the craft. It harks back to a time when mastery of the basics was the cornerstone of a photographer’s skill set. This intentional paring down of the process serves not only as a nostalgic nod to the past but as a conscious choice to elevate the artistry inherent in every frame captured on film.

As I navigate the decision to include my trusty Bronica ETRSi alongside my Canon 5DSR on each photographic journey, the embrace of simplicity through film remains a constant. It’s a choice that reaffirms the belief that, in the pursuit of art, sometimes less complexity leads to a more profound and authentic creative experience.

2. Tactility: The Music of Mechanical Precision

The profound tactile nature of film photography stands as a cornerstone of my creative journey, and it’s the aspect I cherish the most. Every film camera, especially my cherished Bronica ETRSi, becomes a conduit to a unique symphony of mechanical sounds. Operating on a fully mechanical foundation, these cameras eschew digital dependencies, with the exception of light meters. This distinction immerses me in a world where analog precision reigns supreme, creating an experience that transcends the mere act of capturing images.

The absence of silence during shooting, a common challenge in film photography, becomes an advantage. The satisfying clicks and whirs emanating from the mechanics of the camera transform into an integral part of the photographic dance. Each sound is a tactile cue, an acknowledgment of the physicality involved in creating art. It adds an extra layer to the creative process, making every shot not just a visual capture but a multisensory experience, where touch and sound coalesce into the magic of mechanical precision.

3. Embracing Risk for Greater Intentionality

Film photography, by its very nature, introduces an inherent risk—a risk of potentially faltering in capturing the perfect shot. Paradoxically, this element of risk becomes a catalyst for greater intentionality in the photographic process. The fear of missing a decisive moment, of botching a composition, propels me to be more intentional, more meticulous in my approach.

This heightened intentionality manifests in a thorough double-checking of settings, ensuring that each frame is not merely a result of chance but a carefully composed and considered creation. The prospect of a missed opportunity instills a discipline that is reflected in the final portfolio. The images captured under the shadow of this risk carry an authenticity borne out of a thoughtful and deliberate approach. In navigating the precarious balance between risk and intentionality, film photography becomes a medium where the fear of failure transforms into a driving force for creating images that tell a more profound and intentional story.

4. Affordable Experimentation

One of the most enticing aspects of film photography lies in its ability to foster affordable experimentation, a luxury not always readily available in the realm of digital photography. The cost-effectiveness of this medium opens the door to creative exploration, allowing photographers to venture into uncharted territories without breaking the bank.

Take, for instance, my excursions to historical sites like Mottisfont Abbey and Silchester Old Roman Wall and Church. Here, the allure of experimentation with film becomes palpable. Unlike digital counterparts, where investing in a new lens can incur substantial costs, the world of film welcomes artistic exploration without financial constraints. Antique stores near these historical sites often unveil hidden treasures—forgotten lenses with broken apertures sold for a mere pittance. A lens that might cost hundreds or even thousands for a digital camera becomes an affordable gem in the film photographer’s hands.

The inherent unpredictability of these lenses, coupled with the ability to load a new film stock for each shooting session, transforms each visit into an opportunity for artistic discovery. It’s an accessible journey into experimentation, a luxury that enhances the cultural and historical narratives captured in every frame at sites like Mottisfont Abbey and Silchester Old Roman Wall and Church. In this way, film photography not only preserves the visual essence of these historic places but also becomes a means of breathing new life into their stories through affordable and uninhibited creative experimentation.

5. Intentionality Breeds Quality

The intentionality that permeates the film photography process translates into a higher hit rate. When I receive a roll of film back from the lab, I find myself delighted with the majority of the shots. The act of consciously thinking through each step results in fewer discarded photos, streamlining the curation process. In a world flooded with digital images, the intentionality behind film photography elevates it beyond mere snapshots.

Film photography, with its simplicity, tactility, risk, experimentation, and intentionality, offers a personal and life-filled alternative to the often soulless digital imagery of our times. Embracing the analog becomes a transformative experience, a journey into the heart of creativity that is well worth taking.

At the time of writing this blog, I’m just in the throws of creating a film photography portfolio and shop.

Pros and Cons of Analogue Photography with an Old Analogue Camera

Pros of Film PhotographyCons of Film Photography
1. Tactile Experience: Mechanical precision and satisfying sounds create a unique, immersive experience.1. Limited Shots: Limited frames per roll may restrict the number of shots per session.
2. Simplified Process: Focus on fundamentals like shutter speed, aperture, and focus for a more straightforward creative process.2. Development Time: Waiting for film development and scanning can delay the gratification of viewing results.
3. Affordable Experimentation: Inexpensive lenses and varied film stocks allow for cost-effective creative exploration.3. Lack of Instant Feedback: No instant preview hinders the ability to adjust settings on the fly.
4. Intentionality and Risk: Heightened intentionality due to the risk of potentially botching a shot results in more deliberate compositions.4. Learning Curve: Beginners may face a steeper learning curve compared to the immediacy of digital photography.
5. Unique Aesthetic: Film often imparts a distinctive, timeless aesthetic that can be challenging to replicate digitally.5. Limited ISO Range: Film has a fixed ISO, making it less adaptable to rapidly changing lighting conditions.
6. Preservation of Tradition: Embraces the traditional, analog roots of photography, connecting to the history of the medium.6. Cost of Film and Development: Accumulated costs of film rolls and development may surpass digital expenses over time.
7. Experimentation with Equipment: Easy and affordable experimentation with various film cameras and lenses.7. Bulk and Weight: Film cameras can be bulkier and heavier, impacting portability compared to compact digital counterparts.
8. Nostalgic Appeal: Appeals to those seeking a nostalgic connection to the era when film photography was predominant.8. Limited Low-Light Performance: Film may struggle in extremely low-light conditions compared to modern digital sensors.
9. Tangible Prints: The ability to produce tangible prints from negatives provides a physical representation of one’s work.9. Limited Post-Processing Flexibility: Post-processing options are more constrained compared to digital files.
10. Aesthetic Variability: Each film stock contributes a unique aesthetic, allowing for diverse visual storytelling.10. Availability of Film: Certain film stocks may become rare or discontinued, limiting choices for photographers.

FAQs – Exploring the World of Film Photography

Q1: Why choose film over digital for your photography? A1: film vs digital photography photography offers a simpler process, stripping away digital complexities and allowing a return to the basics of shutter speed, aperture, and focus. The intention is to create a more immersive and straightforward creative experience.

Q2: What is the significance of the tactile nature of film cameras? A2: The tactile aspect of film cameras, like the Bronica ETRSi, is cherished for its unique mechanical sounds. Fully mechanical and devoid of digital dependencies, these cameras provide a sensory experience, enriching the creative process with a symphony of clicks and whirs.

Q3: How does the risk associated with film photography contribute to better photos? A3: Film photography introduces an element of risk, heightening intentionality. The fear of potential mistakes encourages photographers to double-check settings, resulting in a more deliberate approach. This intentional mindset often translates into a higher quality of captured moments and not forgetting the history of film photography!

Q4: How does film photography enable affordable experimentation? A4: Unlike digital cameras where new lenses can be costly, film photography allows for affordable experimentation. With lenses available at antique stores or broken-aperture gems priced at a mere $5, the accessibility of film encourages photographers to explore different looks and styles, fostering artistic growth.

5 Reasons Film Photography Transforms My Creative Journey



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