Film Photography is Still Alive

This is 2018, and every few months or so, photography technology makes a giant leap forward. This is the era of digital photography, well and truly. More and more people are taking up photography because it is extremely easy to do so. And yet, there are people who have persisted with film. Not only that, there’s a new bunch of young photographers who are rediscovering the magic of film. STORYHIVE tells their story:

Why would someone use a film camera when it’s insanely more convenient to shoot with a smartphone? The reasons are as varied as the individuals who are pursuing this threatened form of visual expression. This short film by Take Kayo is an attempt to find out as many reasons and as many justifications as he can from those who are keeping this art alive.

“I shoot on film because there is a certain level of intimacy and craftsmanship that comes into the image. Anything that has to do with a computer kind of distances me from the actual photograph. So, I love the tactility and just the medium itself being so physical.” –Mario Delion, Graphic Design Student

Kathy Kinaken, an analogue process specialist and an 8 x 10 shooter says,

“My favorite film is a silver gelatin emulsion that I coat on glass. Basically I make my own film. I prefer film over digital. I think it’s the hands-on nature of it. In the end you have a physical object. The photograph is a physical object as opposed to the photograph as a digital file.”

film is alive

The hands-on nature of film photography can’t be replaced with digital technology.

Greg Girard, who is a professional photographer and has shot film all his life, argues that every film type has a characteristic and a palette that you get to know about over the years. Digital does not have a characteristic.

film photography in the digital age

Film photography has unique character.

“The reason I don’t shoot digital, on the other hand, is that I find it problematic. That a digital file has no inherent characteristics and you have to introduce them. And so it just seems to me I might as well keep shooting film as it gives me what I want.”

On the other hand, professional photojournalist John Lehmann shoots film only when the story matches with the kind of equipment that he uses.

photographers who still shoot film

Using old technology can match the circumstances of a photography shoot.

“I shot a man that was turning a hundred. So I tried to find a camera that was over a hundred years old, and I found this Kodak Brownie. Fixed 120 film, fixed focus, fixed light. It was difficult to use. I probably put five or six rolls through it to make sure I had something usable.”

Kayo’s journey took him to Hong Kong and the mecca of film photography in 2018. He even met David Chan, who runs a vintage camera shop that sells probably every film camera that was ever made.

This video is no doubt a fascinating journey into a world that continues to thrive in the deluge of digital technology.

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