Why I Enjoy Film Photography

It was a chance encounter: My first film camera. I had seen them lying around the basement of my house, but it wasn’t until I was visiting a friend’s mother who was in the process of decluttering that I pursued the hobby.

The camera which I am referencing above is the famous Nikon FE-2 SLR device, and i’m about to get back a Canon Canonete 28 from a local repairman.

When you weigh film photography against its digital counterparts, there aren’t that many advantages on paper. It costs more as you have to buy film, and then pay to get it developed. The photos are not as sharp, and usually have a level of grain on them. You have to be more selective with your shots because of the aforementioned costs involved. Learning what makes a good photograph is tricky because there is a long delay between taking the picture and seeing it.

But there it is. The benefits are in the work. Hunting down new (old) cameras, and learning how they work. Carefully taking pictures, and then waiting to find out how they turned out a week after shooting (at least). Anyone who has been through it knows the joy of finding out that your photos are ready from the lab.

Film photography in a digital world would appeal to people who have a quirky sensibility. You are not satisfied with what everyone else is doing (taking perfectly fine, and sometimes outstanding pictures with their smartphones), and want to dig into a hobby that it’s a bit more involved.

Whenever I put photography away for a while, and then come back to it later on, I notice that I start to appreciate the visuals of my surroundings more. I look carefully at the sunset, wishing I had a camera with me, and wonder how I would capture it. Seeing people on the street, I try to identify which faces and poses would make for something interesting.

The irony for me on this one is that I don’t share the same enthusiasm for vintage music recording equipment. I enjoy the compact nature of working with virtual synthesizers, and the affordability of them as well. These quirks are what make us human, and ultimately original.

Photograph above: My good friend Missy Cohen