The Daily Chat – Film, I Just Don’t Get It

Is Film Making A Comeback?

Yesterday, I went out to lunch with a fellow photographer.  As always, when two photographers get together, there is a lot to talk about.  Our focus, though, shifted to film and analog photography.  We both were kind of curious as to why film photography is seeing such a big resurgence.  It’s beyond me why a photographer would want to shoot film.  I remember years ago when Michael Reichmann was with us, he got the film bug.  He went out and bought a Rollei 120 film-size camera and started shooting film.  That adventure lasted about a month before he sold all the gear off.

There’s kind of a renaissance with film, I get it.  But there is a cost, too, and not just monetarily.

One of the advantages of digital is the ability to capture a wide range of details in shadows and highlights.  We call it dynamic range.  Film doesn’t have that ability, nor does it allow you to recover a lot of exposure issues after the fact.  Film does have a look.  It’s a biased look.  Manufacturers of film built-in bias for specific colors when film was prevalent.  Many films had a bias in them that gave warmer flesh tones, deeper greens, and blues, as they looked great when people looked at prints.  Remember, back in the film days, you had to have a print to see your picture.  People just didn’t walk around holding negatives up to the light.

What gets me is that film photographers make a big deal shooting film, paying for development, and then scanning the film into a digital file.  So, why not just shoot digital in the first place?  They take the files, put them in Lightroom, and make adjustments just as if they were digital files.  It kind of leaves me scratching my head.  I can shoot digital with any of my cameras, and as most of you know, I have a few of them.  I can look at the files in Lightroom and adjust the image to a look I like or use a preset that has actually been designed to emulate film.  I can even add grain.  I just don’t get it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave your comments and feelings on the forum.  Are you all about film, or are you like me and just don’t get it?  In the end, I don’t care if you shoot film or not, just as long as you are HAPPY and achieving the photographs you desire.  Go for it.

The Video (5:30)

Kevin Raber
September 2023
Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

Photography is my passion and has been for 50 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of picture taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can, hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through, this site, as well as Rockhopper Workshops, and other projects, as well as teaching as Artist In Residence at the Indianapolis Art Center.

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