Anyone with a smartphone can quickly snap a photo and slap on a filter to mimic the analogue look. But the rising number of film photographers who post their work on social media largely contribute to film photography's resurgence in this digital age. Following our previous discussion on this matter, we dig deeper into the insights of these social media-savvy film photographers.
What do you think are the pros and cons of posting analogue photos on social media?
"I feel like analogue photos give a more authentic, less manicured vibe, which in this day and age (where so many things are heavily edited), is something people like to see on social media. Also, analogue photos generally (to me) have a richer, more unique colour palette and tones than anything taken digitally. The biggest disadvantage of using analogue photos is probably having to pay for digital scans, which I usually get anyway - trying to fit various aspect ratios into the Instagram square can be a hassle as well." – Timothy Lim
"To be honest I’m a bit conflicted by the oxymoron of it and it’s something my teachers at Parsons would question me on a lot. The advantage is that Instagram and social media are the best way to get my art into the world, and it’s a way of marketing my art that is completely under my control. The disadvantage is, I like my photos at their conception exist outside of the internet, I love having physical photos to hold and they seem more real and more precious that way. I wish people could experience my photos solely in person but one advantage for putting them on social media is that I can connect to people all over the world who would never have that opportunity." – Juliana Gagne
"I think that the advantage of using film images for social networks is to think in terms of quality and not quantity. I am limited in my production so I do not post often. The disadvantage is that sometimes I feel lost in a flow of images and I feel that my work is not always appreciated at its fair value (if there is a value). But on the other hand, I like the idea of offering quality content and thereby "educate" people who do not necessarily have a culture of the image." – Cécile André
"I believe being part of a beautiful online community of film photographers is a big advantage. By simply using specific hashtags you can discover and be discovered, in return, by lots of other talented artists. On the other hand, I believe a big disadvantage is that most social media platforms use a specific photo format. You end up doing a lot of cropping and framing, which sometimes messes up the composition and resolution of your photos." – Gabriel del Canto
"I use social media to let people know that film photography is not just about taking nice photos with awesome color gradients, but it is an experience overall. Getting back to your roots and rediscovering light and shadows in a different way." – Ria Silva
"Maybe psychologically, I use film because I want to return to those simple days in my childhood when my parents didn’t have cell phones and my family didn’t have a desktop computer." – Juliana Gagne
Do you think social media has made film photography “trendy”?
"Yes, I started to shoot film photography due to social media influence. I wanted to try it when I saw the wonderful film photos on Instagram. It's a trend among young people in Japan. They feel that film photography is emotional because of the impression that it gives: faded, grainy, and nostalgic." – Kana
"I'm sure it has, mainly due to its unique character and results that are noticeably different from most digital photography. There's a more human side to film photography than digital." –João Henrique de Melo Alves
"People can simply get inspired by other people's work and possible reproduce something similar without even noticing or being consciously aware of it, and that turns into a trend." – Teay Thoranit
"I believe that in a sense it has, since we see a lot of people shooting film after watching celebrities use film cameras, but I think that once they dive deep into the medium they come to appreciate it and in the long run it helps keep film alive all while raising awareness to other people so in the end, it is actually a win-win situation." – CJ Méndez
"I would definitely agree that film photography is seen as trendy right now and I think while part of that might be social media, I don’t think that’s the main reason. I think the resurgence in film, particularly with people my age is a reaction to this digital age. Everyone with a smartphone is walking around with more pixels and a better camera than my first point and shoot. I watch people in New York constantly take photos with their phones and I think because it’s so accessible now that it makes this abundance of digital photos seem less precious." – Juliana Gagne
What do you like best about analogue photography?
"I really enjoy trying out different cameras and film stocks. Instead of editing pictures in Lightroom or photoshop for hours to get the look I like, I can just go to a website like Lomography and see different film stocks and what look I might be able to pull from it. I like how it makes me slow down considerably to verify that my composition, exposure, and all settings are correct so I can take the desired photo. Also, because you are limited to a set number of frames instead of just clicking away, you have to make sure that you can capture your vision as close as possible. Finally, I enjoy the whole analogue process, because I go from buying film stock to developing at home and actually having the negatives in my hand. Once I see them on my computer and printed, it’s full circle. I love it." – CJ Méndez
"For me, there’s also a nostalgic element to film that I really love because it reminds me of my childhood photos. I was born in the mid-'90s so most of the photos from my early childhood are film photos taken by my parents. Neither of them are photographers but they captured truly incredible candid photos of my younger brother and I, they’re much more special to me than digital photos I have from when I was a teenager." – Juliana Gagne
"Simply put, there is a magic to film that I can’t quite explain. The main difference if I take a photo of the same scene digitally and with film, is that the film photo has an atmosphere. It has a different quality to it that’s dreamy and slightly surreal at times. It mirrors how I see the world. I love the imperfections you get with film, you would never get those happy accidents with digital photography. Film is important to me as an exercise in a loss of control, something I usually cling tightly to in the other media I work in." – Juliana Gagne
"There is something very rewarding in having an actual physical print in your hands, rather than just viewing it on a computer. That’s one of the reasons I started shooting film as well, for the physical copies. I believe it makes you appreciate your work that much more. It teaches you what works and what doesn’t so that it looks good in the end." – CJ Méndez
"I would say I like the process of shooting film best, particularly composing and taking the image. It always feels like a form of meditation to me when I clear my mind and only think about what I want out of the photo I’m taking; I love getting lost in that moment, even if the photos don’t always turn out the way I want!" – Timothy Lim
"Pleasant surprises (like colors or light leaks that make photos more interesting) and the anticipation of seeing your photos after developing is what I like best about film photography." – Ria Silva
"What I love about film is the grain. The depth and intensity, the random side of the rendering. I like the idea of using old cameras, which I think have souls. I appreciate the interaction it encourages with the team that I work with and that gives me a blind trust, it brings a great cohesive force. I like to develop my films myself, the manipulation...I can go on like this to infinity as I like everything in analogue photography!" – Cecile André
Photography, like technology, is ever-evolving and today's film photographers have the advantage of using these developments. Social media is convenient and fun, but at its worst, can be quite relentless and discouraging. It actually takes guts to put your work out there, whether it's for promotion or for feedback. Either way, it's important to keep an open mind, remember why you're shooting in the first place, and to be kind to other creatives bravely sharing their work with the world, just like you.
We would like to thank these wonderful photographers for sharing their lovely photographs and insightful thoughts on our topic. Are you on social media? Follow us on Instagram! If you've been shooting with Lomography cameras, art lenses, and film, upload your shots and use the hashtag #heylomography. We'd love to see your photos!