Joel Perlas is a TDS Podcast listener who enjoys analog photography. This post, composed by him, explains why.
The Film Look - Film has a distinct final image, which is not always easy (or possible) to replicate with digital. Color film can have very rich tones, and a high amount of latitude in the highlights. BW film can provide unparalleled sharpness, contrast, and grain, which can make a photograph look like it was etched in stone and lacquer.
Also, there are no other current means available to capture the fine detail found in large format photography. Film is also the preferred medium in many popular movies, which is used in order to achieve a certain quality that can't be easily replaced. If you liked the look of the latest Star Wars movie, it might be because it was shot on film. Best of all, most of the processing has already been done for you, which gives you more time away from the computer.
The Process - Shooting film is a much more physical, hands-on experience. Loading film is tactile, and compared to the ubiquitous digital screens that possess us in our first world lives; having one less digital LCD is very welcome.
It's also a slow process, which forces you to wait, rather than to feed the immediacy of our "right-now" society. Lastly, the slow development process makes you anticipate your images, and forces you to examine your final frames in a way that’s much different than the feeling you get from digital’s commoditized nature.
Film Photos are More Valuable - Both figuratively and literally. Since film limits the amounts of shots that you can take, the keepers tend to be more cherished. Also, the monetary cost of each shot adds up quickly. Professional quality processing, scanning, and film stock, can add up to $1 per shot for 35mm and $100 for each 8x10 large format shot. The inherent cost of film photography, pushes you to attain your favorite photos much more quickly, and can give you the desire to hang on to them for a longer period of time.
The Permanence - In the right conditions, film's physical nature can exist for hundreds of years without any human intervention. Digital, on the other hand, exists with a constant flux of having to move it to new data sources, in order to ensure that it doesn't get corrupted. Printing digital files on to paper will enable photos to exist for a longer period of time, but commonly printed photos are more prone to fade faster than film negatives.
It's Fun! - Film can sometimes give you unpredictable results, which can often result in happy accidents. Sometimes you end up with double exposures, over/under development, and color/contrast shifts that provide you with a final image that you never thought would be a keeper.
Lastly, there is a wide range of traditional (and alternative) print processes that provide many options for museum quality photographs, which include, fiber based, platinum/palladium, and carbon transfer prints.
About the Author - Joel Perlas
You can see more of Joel's work at Flickr (VeloRydr.photo), or Instagram (VeloRydr). Currently, his favorite camera is a Canonet QL17, loaded with Tri-X 400... which he's using to capture personal photo journal images. Article and images by Joel Perlas.