Daily 49er

Film photography makes a comeback in the age of digital products

Although the process consumes more time and money, students and professionals still prefer it to digital.

Many+photographers+find+themselves+using+film+cameras+in+the+wake+of+the+digital+era.+
Many photographers find themselves using film cameras in the wake of the digital era.

Many photographers find themselves using film cameras in the wake of the digital era.

Photo illustration by Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Photo illustration by Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Many photographers find themselves using film cameras in the wake of the digital era.

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When film was first introduced to the world, it was revolutionary. It changed the format and immediacy of cinema and photography. Decades later when digital was created, the future of film seemed bleak.

In 2008, Polaroid announced that it would no longer produce its iconic instant print film due to low market conditions. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy, leaving many film lovers in fear of losing one of the most innovative companies of the last century. Fujifilm recently announced discontinuations of various film stocks in several formats.

However, according to a Wall Street Journal article from 2016, Fuji Instax instant film was the best selling item in Amazon’s Camera category during the 2015 holiday season.

The film market looks good for the future, especially since 30 percent of film photographers were 35 or younger, according to a survey by Ilford Photo.

But in an age so digital, what makes the use of film so appealing for millenials?

Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography, Nieves Maria-Rocha says she prefers to shoot film due to the overwhelming possibilities digital offers.

“I hate that you could shoot so much in digital of the same shot and then you have to go through so much editing”, Maria-Rocha said. “I prefer the film because it limits the amount that I can do.”

She also enjoys seeing the difference between the photo she envisions and seeing how it actually turns out as a finished product.

 

Hunter Lee | Daily 49er
Film cameras use rolls of film that require development to create prints.

“What I like about the film is that it’s kind of like magic in some ways, because I don’t know what pictures I got at the end,” Maria-Rocha said. “I imagine what it’s going to be like, but then I develop it and it’s slightly different.”

Katherine Phipps, online marketing and community manager for photography company Lomographic Society International, credits the revival of film in part due to the benefit of holding something tangible in hand.

“There’s a desire [in] people to return to things that are real,”  Phipps said. “Being intimate, not being afraid of the results, and kind of just like going for it, which inspires the culture.”

The film company’s core demographic market are those 18 to 35, with products such as the compact-automatic Lomo LC-A camera, and the Lomo Instant cameras, which use Fuji Instax film.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, Kodak Aliris, (the firm that bought Kodak’s film segments) announced their plan to reproduce the popular film stock Ektachrome after five years of discontinuation.

What makes using film enjoyable for some people is the amount of films to choose from. There are roughly 90 different types of film available to purchase on bhphotovideo.com, and that’s just in the 35mm format.

Mohammad Djauhari, a freelance photographer based in Los Angeles compares the variety of film to painters.

“They have their pallet and they have their selection of various paint that they could use,” Djauhari said. “With digital photography, it’s much different in the sense that you take your photos, and for the most part they look the same.”

Djauhari added that he likes film because of the amount of control he has over the aesthetic quality of his work. This control comes at the price of money and time, as the process has many stages — development, drying, storage, scanning and creating the prints — before the photographer can even begin to see their images.

President of CSULB Film Club Andrew Haag says he’d like to use film, but is prevented by these obstacles.

“I personally prefer to shoot digital because it’s much cheaper than film,” Haag said. “I’d like to work with film photography, but getting things processed is costly of time and money.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Film photography makes a comeback in the age of digital products”

  1. Davide on February 6th, 2018 1:04 am

    Digital is too perfect to represent an imperfect world. Shooting digital is like playing a digital piano: the sound is everyday the same. Film photography is like a true piano or cembalo: even slightly changes of temperature or humidity changes (slighty) the sound. A film camera is made to last, ed even a young boy always fell in love with an old Canon AE-1 or a Pentax K1000 or similar iconic cameras. This don’t happen for a digital camera. Who is interested in the early SLR digital models?

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