The joy of film photography

Central Park

Central Park, Manhattan

In an era of pernicious immediacy, when the inability or the refusal by a few of us to see and share your results instantly has become unacceptable by society standards, it is refreshingly inspiring to be able to take a pause.

For a brief moment, I had been caught up by the digital revolution. I had bought one of those Newest Canon camera and decided to try this new technology that every one seems to swear by. It was , by all accounts, an unsuccessful experience with the medium ; it left me with a nagging inadequacy and  utter bitterness.

Most of the images spawned by my digital camera were, to my eye, unsuitable. The hours spent in front of a computer film, trying to reach with Photoshop something that I had no trouble achieving with film, eventually drove me to give up. For a while I thought I had lost faith.

There is much to be said about shooting with film notwithstanding what the die-hard proponents of digital photography say, in their endless crusade to convert anyone to the hype of digital.

Shooting with film brings wonders to a photographer and, as far as I am concerned is far from being the act of nostalgic desperation so often decried by naysayers. I am sure that a lot of photographer would agree with me.

View from Gourock

View from Gourock

I have, of course, rediscovered the joy of taking photographs the old way, mostly using 35 mm films and, also large format sheets with a Linhoff camera that I had found in a Parisian shop some years ago and which had gathered dust since.

With film photography, there is this peculiar welcoming sense of taking on an emotional journey in which one feels unhampered by the constraints, real or otherwise, of over-engineered technology; one does not feel compelled to check results, every steps of the way, on the little display at the back of the camera. The connection with one’s subject, free of any unwanted distraction, is consummately appreciated; the umbilical cord connecting the photographer to the computer, so to speak, is irrevocably severed and the thrill of the whole process is rewarding.

Then there is the benefit of holding a tangible original image in the form of a celluloid emulsion; a canvas that can be touched, admired with relish,  without the need  of turning on an electronic device; something extremely valuable in a world where everything is increasingly stored on a remote server, at the mercy of anyone, susceptible to be removed at any time.

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