Film vs. Digital?

In today’s times it is much easier and more affordable to do digital photography. A digital camera is easy to use and shows you your results instantaneously. There is no waiting and spending time in the darkroom exposing photos just to see how they turned out. While film is less popular in today’s times, I still believe that it has a huge place in 21st century photography. It is my personal belief that a photographer should do both digital and film photography, but at different opportune moments. Let me explain…

While film photography has its merits, I simply don’t believe it is practical enough for today’s digital world. Taking your photographs in film is a matter of personal choice, so I am not suggesting one method over the other; in fact, I think that film is better than digital in almost every aspect. With film photography, you dedicate more time to your photographs, giving you a great sense of accomplishment when your pictures come out the way you pre-visualized. You have a physical copy of your photo to cherish and share with others. This physical photograph, the one YOU created, will last for a long time assuming you take decent care of it. It serves as a memoir, a token to your skill. This photograph, if you choose to do so, can be put online, but the great part is it doesn’t have to be. This is where I think the true beauty of film photography lies. Even if your film doesn’t come out the way you hoped, it still serves as a great nostalgic reminder of what happened where. Every photographer should carry a film camera to take pictures of the journey for this exact purpose. Sure, you can take a journey to the top of a mountain and take a beautiful digital picture of a sunrise, but chances are you don’t take simple snapshots of the journey itself. This is where film has its place, it allows the photographer the freedom to take photographs that ignore compositional guidelines and photographic rules. True, many will argue that you can do this with digital, and that you can just print your digital pictures, but that’s rarely the case. A roll of film will force you to print your pictures. If you use digital, a common excuse is that you have the photos backed up on a hard drive. Please, go buy an old film camera and have fun with it. When an error message appears on your computer that your hard drive has been corrupted, you won’t feel saddened that you have just lost several photographed memories.

Over summer Emily, Connor, Noah, and myself went on a trip to the largest forest in Pennsylvania. It was an awesome trip filled with adventure. During the trip I used an old Minolta Maxxum 7000 — that I had bought during the trip at a flea market — to take snapshots. While none of the photographs are well composed, creative, or interesting to most people, they do what they should do, serve as a memorandum. Here are some of those pictures:

I would have never taken these pictures if I had my digital camera in hand. There’s a certain feeling one has when holding a film camera, that completely differs from that of a digital camera. Digital is precise, the Maxxum camera was not. None of the pictures shown are good to the point where a stranger would give them a second glance, but that is okay. I know this article might not make sense to a lot of you. Everything I have stated is possible with a digital camera: you can print out your pictures, you can take snapshots on journeys, not worry about the outcome of the photograph, etc.. Just try out a roll of film, buy an old Canon AE-1, Minolta Maxxum 7000, whatever you can get your hands on. Take it on your next adventure and snap pictures of happy moments, breath-taking moments, moments you want to remember. Leave the cold, hard, precise, calculated pictures for the destination, but not the journey.

~Document your endeavors.~


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