Film photography: Is film #notdead?

The hashtag 'Film is not dead' holds 25.8 million and counting posts on Instagram. Is it truly alive again ?

Kirsty Dow
16th November 2023
Image Credit: Willem Verbeek - @willemverb on Instagram
Whilst film photography has existed for decades, with the rise of the digital age, it has fallen out of favour. Yet, in recent years, the medium has had a resurgence. Becoming mainstream once again, beautifully captured film photos are popping up everywhere online. 

Film photography may seem daunting but there’s certainly something for everyone as you can choose the camera that’s right for you. Before graduating to a manual, some photographers may start off with a disposable camera or a point-and-shoot - these require fewer settings to capture a great shot. Whatever your aims, there’s something for everyone! With many cameras readily available second-hand at a fraction of the price, the hobby is very accessible.

In this digital age, film photography takes you back to basics and I feel it makes me a better photographer. Although I love an Instagram story and shooting on my phone, there is something very gratifying about having to properly frame through a viewfinder. Similarly, in a world where we all want instant gratification, not being able to see our photos until they are developed is a quite good therapy that I take great excitement from.  A roll of film is like a time capsule. Whilst I am impatient to see how my photos turn out, the fun of rediscovering what I have taken outweighs the delay. Rather than scrolling through my camera roll, deleting duplicates, and desensitised it all, it allows you to truly remember each event.

With film photography, sometimes things go a bit wrong, but that’s okay! Even the most experienced photographer can have the odd funny squiggle here and there, but these so-called imperfections create amazing features on your images that couldn’t be replicated digitally. Similarly, the immediately recognisable, nostalgic, dreamy haze of a film photo can’t be authentically replicated by a filter. 

Film photography is, sadly, a more expensive hobby than it once was - rolls of film and their development cost a lot more than they did back in the good ol’ days. Getting your photos developed can also be a bit of a minefield - who do you trust with your little barrel of memories!? But with this new age comes a surge of companies specialising in film development, so there will be someone who is the best fit for you. Though film photography may have been a dying breed, it has certainly been resurrected.

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AUTHOR: Kirsty Dow
Obsessing over things, then writing about them.

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