Technology is great, isn’t it? It makes our life easier and faster: nowadays everything is automatic and we don’t need to think about a thing, when using our phone, our computer or even our photo camera.
It’s perfect, right?
Don’t even get me started about all the issues about techno-ethics and bots: it’s also about the creative action.
Shooting a photograph shouldn’t be an automated action: it should be something meaningful, something you thought about, something you are putting an effort into.
A great choice, in my opinion, would be to reconsider shooting with film and analogic cameras, and here’s why.
1. You have to think about it
As I said, shooting automatically is never a good thing: the camera does your work for you and you don’t even bother to look at the result on your display. You will shoot a hundred of photos and you will choose the best one when you get home.
But if you are shooting on film, you cannot do that anymore: this time you have to carefully think about what you are about to do, because you won’t have a chance to check it later to see if you need another one. You have to know that it’s a good shot. You have to be sure.
This way not only you will test your amazing photography skills, but it’s also a great excercise.
2. You become more selective
With analogic film, you don’t have an infinite number of shots anymore: you only have 36. Moreover, you can’t quickly browse to your shots anymore, to choose which ones to keep and which ones to sacrifice to take just one more.
No, this time you have to keenly choose if you actually want to shoot that picture or not. So you start to only shoot pictures that actually matter, not random pictures that you thought were looking cute.
3. You appreciate the await
As you know, to develop and print a whole film roll takes time: you’ll have to wait a couple of days before you can see your stunning analogue shots.
During this time you will fill yourself with expectation and will think about all the pictures that you took. Will that particular picture I was enthusiastic about come out well? Was that shot perfectly focused? Will that photo be correctly exposed or was it too dark?
You will find yourself asking those questions and thinking about the work you have done. This is also a great excercise for advanced photographers.
4. You have a lot of surprises
It’s easy to forget about all the pictures you took (you cannot remember all the 36 shots). While you ask yourself numerous questions about the pictures you remember taking, you will have some surprises when the day of the delivery comes.
Maybe that picture that you were thinking about all these days didn’t come out as shockingly great as you were thinking, but look how brightly catchy that one is. Yes, the one you completely forgot about!
If you start to regularly shoot with analogic films, you will have this kind of unexpected photos with every single roll. This way you can even surprise yourself!
5. You have tangible memories
How many times have you catched yourself thinking “this picture looks really good, I should print it someday”, and then you never do it?
This is typical: we are used to shoot hundreds of pictures with our phones, and we don’t even need to print them out. We can check them out anytime we want, which is great, but this way we just lose the habit of printing them to hang them on the walls or keep them in our wallets.
But if you shoot on film, you have to print them out to see your work. Now you have actual memories to look at, that you can frame or keep in your wallet or use as a bookmark.
6. You want to learn new things
Printing roll after roll is expensive, right? After summing a couple of numbers you realise that maybe this little hobby of yours is starting to cost a fortune. How to avoid this expense?
You start thinking about it and you realise that with a little investment you could not only avoid paying someone else to do the developing process, but you could also learn something new.
I’ll be honest with you. Right after your first 8/10 rolls you’ll sow the seed in your head of an idea: having your own dark room in the house. You would become a proper analogue photographer, you would learn how to use chemicals and photographic paper and it only takes a small room with closed windows, a red lamp, an enlarger, some tanks and the chemicals. Trust me, these things are not that expensive.
You will be truly obsessed with this idea.
7. You are inspired to experiment
In no time, after trying different films, you will start to wonder what’s the difference between a Fujifilm or a Kodak, you will try out the Polaroid, you will play with lights and colours.
Then you will discover a whole new world: what if I try an expired roll from the 80s? What if I try to do in-camera double exposure? What if I shoot a whole roll and give it to a friend to double-exposure shoot on it? Your brain will start giving younew ideas every day and you will find a new branch of creativity you didn’t know you had.
8. You understand the pioneer photographers
Now that you are an analogue photographer, you’ll never look at historical pictures the same way ever again. Remember the famous Robert Capa’s war shots? Imagine taking them on film: imagine the concerns he had about the correct eposure, the noise or the blurriness. Those were very important pictures, he couldn’t allow himself to have them wrong.
Imagine that what you are doing as a hobby, the historical photographers were doing as their job. Every famous, important picture that you saw and you studied was most likely taken on film, with an analogic camera.
So? What are you waiting for? Run to your parents, grandparents or that weird aunt that has seven cats and ask them to lend you their old vintage camera. Or buy it brand new. Go purchase some rolls, or find some expired ones. Start experimenting.
Choose analogue photography now!