Student Life

Snapshot: the developing popularity of film photography

By Jesse Barrett @jessebarrett96

Film is not dead.

The resurrection of film photography in recent years has been astonishing. In the world of phone cameras and digital cameras, people are still opting for their ancestors with film cameras.  

The popularity of film cameras has not come from the oldies who first got their hands on these cameras. It’s been coming from the younger generation who have grown up in a digital era. So why are younger people opting for cameras that are older than they are? 

Film cameras have been around since the 1800s, and photography has a history that dates back as far as Aristotle and his invention, the camera obscura. Basically, film is a chemical emulsion on a plastic substrate. This emulsion is sensitive to light and when exposed imprints what is exposed though the camera lens.  

Film produces a better image quality, richer in detail than digital. This is because film cameras don’t use a digital sensor; instead they capture the image directly to film, producing a better dynamic range which makes it better at capturing whites and blacks in the image.   

There is more purpose when you shoot a film camera. You must think about every photograph as you have a limited number of exposures. A roll of film typically has 24 or 36 shots in it, and you need to buy a roll every time you want to go shoot. This doesn’t include getting the photos developed, which is another cost. The expense can really add up fast. The easy way is to just take your time and plan your photos, and not just shoot everything you see, like you’re used to doing with your mobile camera.

Because of how you need to think, and how slow film photography can be, it can be quite therapeutic. It’s just you and your camera, walking around, looking for the best shots. Even just thinking about it has already relaxed me.  

If you still think digital has killed off analogue photography, go to Instagram and try the #filmisnotdead hashtag. I guarantee you’ll want to get involved.

Happy shooting!

  Featured image: Slow down and take some photographs with a 35mm film camera. Photo: Element5 Digital/CC/

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