The Analogue Photography Series: Film is Still Alive by Take Kayo


Film is dead. Digital wins.

Those two statements have sparked a landslide of commentaries from polarized ends of the photography community but that shouldn't really be the case. It isn't a competition nor it should be. Look at it this way, we're all part of the same nation, only we belong to different tribes.

© Take Kayo

The resurgence of film photography in the recent years is only an indication that more and more people are starting to get interested in emulsion. Again, photographers are bringing out their old cameras, labs are getting busy again, and newcomers are arriving in droves to learn the ways of the lens, shutter, and aperture.

Mr. David Chan, a camera shop owner in Champagne Court, Hong Kong © Take Kayo

This is the thesis of Take Kayo's short documentary Film is Still Alive. Take is no greenhorn when it comes to film photography. He's been handing films, cameras, lenses etc. for decades so it's safe to say he knows a thing or two about the analogue way of life. He filmed the first episode of his project The Analogue Series along with his creative partner Ryan Savella of Arcade Original and focused on young photographers from Vancouver (where he's based) who still shoot film in this day of sensors and high tech gear.

Old Technology, Young Generation

Film is Still Alive via YouTube

Film is Still Alive is a short story about people and their connection to an older photographic technology. It's as simple as that. These people include young photographers dabbling into analogue photography, pros who prefer using film in their work, passionate collectors of vintage cameras, and purveyors of new ways to rediscover and use film cameras.

Greg Girard © Take Kayo

Film photography has character. It's about preference.It's about identity. There is no doubt that digital photography has created many creative opportunities and applications and it's a comforting thought that photography is doing well and good. Although the fact remains that there are still who prefer the old ways. Both choices are acceptable. It's not about which one is better or which one will take over. Appreciating the medium and the satisfaction it gives people without dismissing the other is achievable.

Watch the short documentary and you'll see what we mean. Hats off to Take and the crew behind Film is Still Alive. Indeed, long live film!

If you're interested in Take's work, you may visit his website, and Instagram for more.

written by cheeo on 2018-05-10 #culture #videos #video #documentary #take-kayo #film-is-still-alive


  1. jaunman
    jaunman ·


  2. stouf
    stouf ·


  3. jm60
    jm60 ·

    Take identifies a lot of it; but there are so many other reasons to use film over digital that cannot fit into 10 minutes on Youtube. Film has a different character to the image. It is slight, so not everyone is going to see it at first. There are also some things you can do better will film than with digital. Digital has the advantage of immediacy over many film types, but a great deal of the allure for photographic arts is exploiting that subtle difference. Bokeh is not the sole domain of film, you can exploit it with digital as well, but it has different character; in part as a result of what digital is not able to register. Not to mention there is that "daredevil" aspect to it too. Every roll is at risk of something happening to it.

    However, from my own experience, I have shot many images where shutter speed was measured in minutes, not milliseconds. Speed Reciprocity issues with film are a small hurdle when compared to digital noise that is inherent in long digital exposures. I am still in the process of scanning negatives and slides shot decades ago, and will probably compile a number of them in a "gallery" for my Lomography page a gallery of images with exposures one second or longer. Some of the industrial and railroad related images and a few skylines are already up on my Lomography page. Digital can give easy speed to such images if I were to re-shoot them, however some areas are no longer available, some have changed in a dramatic fashion, and some would be near impossible to even get remotely close in appearance.

    So in short: film has a living aspect to it and is "full of life", it has character. Digital is sterile in it's precision. It is akin to compairing music from an old vinyl LP to an MP3, or even a CD- the digital formats are good- but also range from a bit sterile to very sterile once you know what the MP3 format "throws away" of the music signal.

  4. phillipcejudo
    phillipcejudo ·

    I have wanted to speak with others regarding this topic.

    It is a matter of choice.

    Since the change, we still have 35mm. It is not cost effective, good for the enviroment or as user friendly as the new medium.

    The film camera itself comes in all shapes and sizes some big and expesive others small and plastic.

    A cell phone today can cost up to a mind knumbing $800.00.

    The feel of a big expesive car with a solid build sliding down a highway while holding a handcrafter steering wheel is one experiance.

    A camera is a deferent kind of machine than a luxuary car or a fun toy car for instance (like a plastick camera).

    I have seen a lot a still photos made by digital media made to look like a 35mm photograph. I have seen a lot of digital photos that are just great looking and inspiring images that just so happen to be entirely constructed by digital media.

    I consider myself to be a Philastine. With that said I have never asked what was used to create a great image other than a image that is generated to betray the eye for a live setting.

    Drawing with Light has evolved into a purer meaning of the definition.

    I grew up in the last centery when Photography was about capturing light and moments of life.
    To me as a viewer the image was literaly printed and kept.

    It was this idea that I found both inspiring and remontic about the medium, that the skill of a photographer can be determined by thier ability to look at the world and notice things that maybe taken for granted or dismissed.

    Today more people have access to a camera and therfore we have probably learned collectively that there are more of us who possess that sort of skill/eye, which before now was reserved for those who could afford it.

    I have seen some great photos maybe once or twice in my life time. Some of those photos have had a lasting effect and still live in my mind. A lot of us walk around with these images and how they make us feel.

    That in itself is tangible.

    Ultimatly what has changed most might be ownership?

    The tangible verses materialism?

    When I Ws on the train taking pictures with a 35mm camera I certainly did not feel like a photographer. To me it was the only way I knew how to take pictures and photography more seriusely.

    The camera itself was a far more blunt object than a eye phone or my $80 Andriod.

    In retrospect despite the poor decision to spend money on film and developmet while broke, it was the familar feel of the camera in my hand perhaps or the fact that every shot was a step closer to panic, making me be more carful about how I used each shot.

    This is a fun video.

    It certainly is not a discusion in a real envirement with amiture photographers and profesionals atempting to justify the existance of a obsolete method for capturing light.

    Perhaps I was looking for a talk like that from the more experianced, smarter and better skilled in arts and all, to justify to me why Photography on film should continue to exist.

    Today digitally generated imagging is great and facinating in its nearly perfect representation and abstraction of life. What i find even more facinating though are real moments in life unplanned unrehust captured by a camera and now maybe a cellphone aswell.

  5. mikefromlfe
    mikefromlfe ·

    @phillipcejudo You say that film is not cost effective - I'd disagree! If I buy a camera for £20 and shoot 20 rolls of film at £3 per roll and get them developped and scanned at £6 per roll that has cost me £200 - about one third the price of a fair/decent digital camera - certainly the quality of my photos will be different to digital, but I'd have had more fun!
    You say that film is not good for the environment - I'd disagree! A new digital camera with all those toxic heavy metals in the sensor and battery that will go into landfill in a year or two when it's replaced by a 'better' model, against a film camera rescued from landfill, coupled with a responsible processing outfit - no contest!
    You say that the experience of film is less friendly than digital - I'd disagree! A simple point-and-shoot camera - or better still a 110 film camera is incredibly easy to operate and get great, interesting photos from. You won't need to worry about your battery going flat (or failing in very cold weather), you won't need to worry about theft, you can just send your film away and get great scans and prints back without the hassle of transferring the image to your computer and feeling you'must' manipulate it digitally!
    Digital has its place for people with lots of money, and who are prepared to learn to speak computer, but for us simple people, film wins hands down!

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