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What is it about film?

I have always been interested in photography. Using a camera as a creative outlet has always brought me a certain satisfaction. Before I rediscovered analogue I would go through a phase every few months with a DSLR. I would take it everywhere with me, playing with the settings for different effects, shooting the same subject a million times from different angles, composing the image differently and changing the settings until I finally got what I wanted. Inevitably though, after a week or so I would get bored of that and put the camera away for the next few months. Until one day I discovered Lomography. There was something about it that was so intriguing. Thankfully my sister is awesome and bought me a Diana F+ for Christmas and the bug bit instantly.

I have rediscovered my love for photography, or rather, discovered my love for analogue through my rediscovery of film photography. There is something about the tangible nature of the art, for lack of a better description. Once you’ve released the shutter, the image is burned onto the film and is right there in your little light box, waiting to be processed. It sits on that little roll, nice and snug with all the other analogue images, waiting for its turn to realise its full potential. Something simple like the sound of the shutter as it flashes open for 1/60th of a second, or the act of physically winding the film to advance to the next image. Maybe it’s the same reason why I like to go barefoot, or eat with my hands. I like to feel the Earth under my feet or the food in my fingers. Just like I like to know that the photos are there in front of me and that I have to handle them before I can gauge the results. And the sense of freedom that comes with it, the freedom from the pursuit of perfection, the freedom from controlling the outcome. Once the shutter has closed, there is nothing you can do until the film is processed.

If this photo were shot on a digital camera I would’ve re-taken the shot over and over to get the framing right, eliminating the patch of sun in the foreground.
No digitally produced shutter sound. No instant gratification seeing the image straight away with the opportunity to re-take the shot a thousand times until you get the result you want. With film you hardly ever get the result you expect, but often get the result you want even though you didn’t know you wanted it at the time. You either have to think about the composition of the shot carefully or simply fire away in the general direction of your subject depending on what you’re after. Analogue is heaps more of an art form than digital photography will ever be.

Since my affair with analogue began I dug out an old Yashica 635 that my grandfather gave to our family long ago and have been playing around with that. The satisfaction I get just from using the camera is something I’ve never felt with digital. I haven’t even developed a roll yet but I love the camera and the process of using it.

Viva analogue!

written by twenty-haitch

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