Photographers On Why They Shoot Film (Part I)


On this day and age when many are incorporating digital gear into their workflows, whether fully or partly, there still are photographers who remain rooted to their analog roots and continue to shoot with film cameras. In commemoration of Film Photography Day happening tomorrow, we have scoured through our past interviews to highlight the reasons these photographers choose to still shoot film.

Olivier Barjolle

Photos by Olivier Barjolle

“Film offers much options more in terms of formats and results – different grain, tonal range, and sizes. But most importantly, you are producing something tangible. Developing film has a particular smell and feel that you learn to enjoy with time. It is a very rewarding experience to look at developed film hanging to dry. In the same way, peeling a Polaroid apart and have a first look at it is a very unique experience – a mix of excitement and anxiety to me. This comes from the unreliability and randomness of the result of using expired chemistry. The results are unpredictable, almost in a magical way – magic[al] imperfections. If people are involved in a shoot, you can be sure that they will get crazy about it. I think people are tired of looking at screens and love to be able to touch and smell the final image (yes, Polaroid films sometimes have a strong smell – I do not work with weird people…).

“The process of shooting is also quite different. It slows you down. No matter the subject, from a landscape to a model, if you use a large format camera (to take the extreme example), you will only shoot a few images and therefore will have to think and plan everything to make each frame count. To me, this is very different from shooting digitally. I am not opposed to shooting digital at all, and even do it sometimes for practical reasons on jobs, but when I do, I always work hand in hand with film.” – Olivier Barjolle: In Praise of Film

Magdalena Lutek (Nishe)

Photos by Nishe

“I still shoot film because it has better tonality and I love the natural texture of soft grain. I also just love being surprised with the results, not seeing the photos instantly at the back of the camera.” – Nishe: Exploring Emotions Through Photography

Soomin Yim

Photos by Soomin Yim

“…This is what I love about street photography using film analog cameras: the fact that [the camera does] not [have] a zoom lens makes you go closer to the subject, so you really confront the subject. It’s you AND the subject, it’s not just you behind the camera as a machine. Also, the fact that I couldn’t see the photograph right away made me fantasize about the image in my head for days until I developed the roll at home, so that moment of taking the photo became strongly imprinted. I’m just a true fanatic of the streets and analog photography.” – Finding Humanity in the Streets with Soomin Yim


Photos by Jinveun

“At first I was just captivated by the design of the film cameras. However, when I bought one and used it, I was once more fascinated by the outcome. I love the noise effect and the way the colors turn out; they are totally different from digital cameras. What I also like about film cameras are the sound of the shutter and looking through the viewfinder. Lastly, I think the real charm is in the wait[ing] [for] the print of the films as it is always exciting to wait for the rolls of the film to be printed. It is something that you cannot feel using digital cameras.” – Young Photographer Jinveun Opens Up on Her Work in Analogue Portraiture

Mr. Bones

Photos by Mr. Bones

“Film is a great extension of the candid photography mentality. It forces you to be selective and expert with your subject, framing and moment. I’m certain that I could get a better frame or angle or composition if I took more time over it, but the moment would have passed.

“Of course you can do that with digital but with film you feel like you really are taking a plunge and when it works, it feels fantastic!

“Plus, I prefer the look of film. The documentary photographers that I admired always shot the world in black and white and on wonderful, analog cameras that were imperfect and grainy and romantic. I wanted to do the same. (although I shoot in color, too!)” – Interview with Mr. Bones, Analogue Dog-Street Photographer

Nicolette Clara Iles

Photos by Nicolette Clara Iles

“I chose to shoot with film, first with disposables and then later with 35mm SLRs, because I wanted to challenge myself in the way that you never know what you’re going to get! With film, you have to think more about what you want to capture and how you want to do it, and that’s one of many reasons I love working with it. It’s exciting.” – An Interview with British Photographer Nicolette Clara Iles

Renee Ackerman

Photos by Renee Ackerman

“I shoot film because there is just something so nostalgic about a single film print. The way it knows exactly how you felt in that moment when the photo was taken, and how it captures the atmosphere in a way that a digital photo never quite could. It gives each photo an ageless or abiding feeling.” – An Interview with American Photographer Renee Ackerman

Ana Mercedes

Photos by Ana Mercedes

“I fell in love with what it produced instantly. Film just has a very special, effervescent quality, and somehow the world looks a little more beautiful through it.” – An Interview with American Photographer Ana Mercedes

Eugene Levinta

Photos by Eugene Levinta

“Film photography felt very close to me – the feelings, the process, the time, and sometimes the smell. Then when I decide to start shooting only film, the only reason why I sold the digital one is to not let myself shoot digital at all.” – An Interview with Analogue Photographer Eugene Levinta

How about you, fellow lomographers? Why do you shoot film? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Stay tuned for the second part coming out tomorrow!

written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-11 #people #lifestyle #film #photographers #analog-photography #filmphotographyday #film-photography-day-2015


  1. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    great article!!!!!

  2. cfehse
    cfehse ·

    There is no technical reason to shoot film anymore. The look of film images can be created - at least mostly - using digital gear but I prefer to create the look first hand by using the original technics. When I want the look of a film fotograph I use a film. All other aspects like slowing down or better plan and think before the image are important an good but can be performed with digital equipment as well. The main reason ist to create the look I want with the technical tools once designed to produce exactly that look.

  3. b2377

More Interesting Articles