Whether You Like It or Not, Film Is Having a Resurgence

The world of analog photography went through a dry spell for a while but has been making a strong comeback in recent years. 

This video is one of the more recent productions put together by NBC Left Field. It features 3 heavy hitters in the YouTube film photography world: Matt Day, Nick Carver, and Willem Verbeek. In addition, it also features an interview with Ed Hurley of Eastman Kodak Company talking about their recent uptick in film production. In particular, he states that they have manufactured and sold more than twice the amount of film in 2019 than they did 5 years earlier in 2014. With their current expansion in production, it’ll be exciting to see which films they will decide to resurrect or what films to create that’s not previously been part of their lineup.

If you’re familiar with my articles here on Fstoppers, you know I’m a big believer in film. I’ve written about it enough to know that many digital shooters are sick of hearing about it. If you’re one of those people, I’m not sorry. This medium isn’t going anywhere any time soon – perhaps you should shoot through a couple rolls and see what it’s about. Additionally, I’ve written about it enough to know that the film photography community is made up of a lot of good, supportive people. If you have no experience with shooting film but have considered getting into it, there’s no time like the present. Ask anyone you can find that currently shoots film. I’m sure they’ll be happy to help.

Do you have any experience with film photography or any other part of the analog process? Do you have any advice for those that haven’t?
 

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James Madison's picture

Very well said. Thanks for chiming in.

jim hughes's picture

You've probably noticed that vinyl LPs are making a comeback too. And yes, I know very well that we can't tell the difference between vinyl and MP3 blindfolded. That's not really the point; it's about enjoying the experience of listening to music. When I spin an LP I tend to stop what I was doing, clear my thoughts, sit back and go with the sound. The handling of the physical object, and engaging the analog technology, may indeed be just a ritual, but some rituals have power and purpose.

James Madison's picture

I feel that. I too enjoy my vinyl collection as a way to engage with the music even if just passively. When you're hanging out, having a beer, and enjoying a conversation with someone, getting up to flip the record or change it is just enough to push the conversation forward. There's also the added benefit of having already curated the selection!

jim hughes's picture

And don't forget the album art! A foot square, and often the work of great photographers and artists. I'm old enough to remember it fresh and new, not worn and faded.

I recently wrote a blog post on LPs and photography:
https://jimhphoto.com/index.php/2019/11/30/33rpm-vinyl-lp-its-magic/#mor...

James Madison's picture

Thanks for sharing. I particularly love the quote at the beginning and applaud your collection of jazz LPs.

I would love to see one of these digital shooters use a 36 exp roll w/o the advantage of preview lol. They are so used to spray and pray, they do not pick their shots or compose in camera. I have seen plenty of young photographers that do that. I picked up my first camera in 1982 and worked as a darkroom technician in 1984 and currently working as a full time photographer. I love the darkroom and found a place that rents them as well here in my area. Great read too

Tony Clark's picture

Yes, I got into photography in '94 and learned to make good use of those 36 exposures. The E-6 clip test took about 4 frames if I remember correctly. After awhile, I bought a Polaroid 600SE then a NPC back for the backup body and shot Polaroids. Then came a medium format kit and it was quite the luxury to get 6x45 then 6x7 Polaroids. I may be getting older but I'm fighting it every day.

James Madison's picture

I've never shot 6x7 Polaroids but I would love to give it a go at some point.

I do believe film is definitely coming back! There is an increase in people buying film cameras and using film as a medium for their photography. I re-launched my youtube channel and i will be talking a lot about my experiences with film cameras and people are responding positively to it!

James Madison's picture

That's great to hear! Good luck with the Youtube channel!

I use film & digital. In my life so far, my film images is probably a higher number than my digital images.
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I shoot digital for weddings (work) and most photos of my family. I shoot film because i like to shoot with my Rolleiflex or Widelux, and the experience is more fun to me than digital is.
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Film photography has simply transitioned from mainstream, to art. It is finding a new level, due to people like me shooting film for fun.
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I've also used a team of draft horses to plow a farm field, way back in 2014. That was fun too.

James Madison's picture

I cannot speak to plowing a field with draft horses being fun but I understand the need/utility of shooting both film and digital.

You would think someone who works for Kodak would know that silver halide photography is not an analogue process.