I found this gorgeous piece of equipment at a local Goodwill today. I say found but, since I looked for it week after week, "hunted down" would be a more apt description. I've slowly become obsessed with film photography over the past two years. I'm not giving up on digital in any way, I still love my DSLR, but I have incorporated a distinct attraction to these old cameras.
Hipster cameras, as some people might call them. Film cameras aren't just for hipsters or eccentric photographers. They represent a nostalgia that is difficult to distinguish. More and more people are returning to film, and I can see why. Each shot is more valuable.
If you ask a film photographer why they choose analog over digital, they will tell you three things:
- Film slows down their process
- Film has a unique look
- Film releases them from the reliance on a screen
While all of these things are true, it isn't why they shoot film. They shoot film to be different, to distinguish themselves from the throngs of people all with a camera in their pocket.
When you go to a concert or event, it's difficult to see over the thousands of people trying to share their "unique" moment on social media. With so many people clambering to express individuality in the same way, it's easy to become disenfranchised with modern photography. Film photography offers a release from that.
I love film photography because it is inherently challenging, and that challenge represents a barrier that most people aren't willing to cross. It's not easy to research cameras, seek them out, figure out how they work, and learn what types of film you like best. In that difficulty there is a separation from the instant gratification that is so common. When something is uncommon, it becomes more valuable.
I encourage you to try film for yourself. Research an analog camera that would suit you, and try it out. Don't do it because it's a fashion statement, or because people say it is visually advanced. Do it because it isn't easy, and because each step you take towards your end result will make it infinitely more personal.