The intrinsic quality of photography as an art form is considerably understated when comparing it to the “time travel” ability to relive a moment that’s passed – I can watch my daughter discover the world around her and I can capture her wonder and amazement in a photograph! These moments captured on film are precious jewels for generations.
I prefer film over digital photography, but often incorporate a more hybrid-like approach using both. Film has a tactile, immersive quality that allows me to slow down the process and create an image. Its character and tonality are unmatched and the technique in development is equally important as the composition and exposure settings.
Shooting film gives me joy. It slows down the process and allows me to think more about the composition than just shooting away with digital. Each 120mm film allows me 10 to 16 images per roll, so I must think carefully about the exposure as a whole. This has helped me understand the fundamentals quickly and in my opinion, has made me a better photographer. Once lights are set and the exposure is determined, I can still shoot quickly to capture spontaneous moments, albeit, in shorter cycles. Digital's ones and zeros create noise whereas film has grain. The film emulsion contains microscopically small light-sensitive silver halide crystals. The sizes and other characteristics of the crystals determine the sensitivity, contrast and resolution of the film. This in itself gives the image a distinct character and tonality unmatched by digital. Digital media is also subject to obsolescence that is a result of changing technologies. Film negatives can be stored and digitized, but if the digital version become corrupt, I still have the negative. Film grain is intrinsic to the high quality of Fine Art photography, and while digital photography's convenience is obvious, it's for that reason alone I choose film because of the effort required to create a photograph as opposed to just getting one. I love shooting Polaroids too! I'm also very grateful for being named "Master Shot Photographer" by Leica Camera AG. I find those little film rangefinders very satisfying.