The photography world is currently experiencing what I think is a peak film renaissance. This year, we’ve had a bunch of new films announced. But more than that, film has made its way back into major marketing initiatives. Companies are hiring photographers to shoot film for certain things. And today, film and digital photography can truly coexist.
Let’s give a short rundown of folks who are shooting film professionally or creating incredible work that we’ve profiled in the past two years:
These are probably some of the folks that should eventually be taught in textbooks for their authenticity. These folks aren’t shooting film because it’s a meme or a trend; they’re doing it because it offers them something totally different. They’re not slapping filters on digital photos; they’re putting actual good work forward instead of feeding algorithms. This is a part of what we’ve lost in photography that hopefully the film renaissance can teach us again.
But let’s not only talk about the photographers. There are brands that are trying to put this forward in sustainable and attainable ways. There’s Kodak, Fujifilm, Lomography, CineStill, Ilford, KONO, and others. There are tons of plain, vanilla film looks on the market. But then there are also lots of those plain films that are given a bit of extra flavor. The Brooklyn Instant Film Initiative is pre-exposing some of their film for sale. So too are the folks at Kono. And there are tons of others.
Arguably speaking, there are more film companies than there are digital camera companies.
So what’s the point of this post? For years, we’ve featured tons of film photographers. It’s time to give film another shot. You don’t need to develop it yourself. You can help out a lab that specializes in doing just that. For anyone new to photography, film makes you a better photographer by forcing you to work in a different way. For anyone who’s shot film and gave up to go to digital, reconsider the importance of patience and what this film renaissance can teach.
More importantly, don’t just shoot one roll of film. Shoot a bunch of them and get them scanned. Is it expensive? Yes, but so is a brand new lens. A brand new lens will last you a while and stick only with one camera mount. But the treasure of information you learn from photographing with film will stick with you forever. And there is no warranty on that because it’s an investment back in yourself. You’ll take it with you no matter which camera system you go to.
Now, here’s the bigger realization: you don’t have to be a film or digital photographer. You can do both in the film renaissance. In fact, a lot of these photographers shoot both film and digital. One medium can truly be better for one type of work while the other does a better job at something else. If you don’t understand why, give it a shot and see why so many photographers are going back to shooting film. Even folks who primarily use their phone are using film cameras to shoot in a completely different way.
Why don’t you?