Written by Maurice Cardinal …
Still film photography brings richness that is hard to replicate in 1s and 0s.
Film is however, reaching the end of its life, and becoming increasingly harder to source. Regardless, it’s making a grand effort to remain relevant and is making somewhat of a comeback with purists.
Shooting film in 2020 is like using a landline. The quality is incredible and stable, but you don’t have fancy and easy to use digital features. In other words, every click counts with bracketing limited to 2 stops above and below, not the twenty stops digital shooters sometimes experiment with way too many times. Film’s “unconscious” spontaneity has been replaced by pre-shot editing in digital cameras.
Film photography will never be replaced any time soon though, any more than books or newspapers.
Shooting film forces us into a different realm of creativity, one with restrictions that cause us to look more deeply.
When Polaroid closed shop in 2008, a derivative soon popped up under the guise of Impossible Project, which filled a gap for instant shooting and printing. The SX-70 is still the artist’s instant camera of choice.
35mm is readily available, but some of the larger sheet films are gone. If you want old-school vintage though, you can still do it yourself from scratch like Shadow Catcher Shane Balkowitsch who shot Greta Thunberg using a glass wet-plate process.
If you have older negative or transparency film in your portfolio, and especially if it is shot fine art style on 8×10 sheet film, it can be of high interest for the right collector. Put it into the market and see what unfolds – the negative, not prints.