I Miss Film

(Don’t worry, this isn’t yet another post on the whole worn-out, tired debate over which one is technically better – film or digital!)


I miss the days of film.

On this day, I needed to pull some old medium-format negatives to scan. The process of looking at each negative with a loupe on the light table we hadn’t turned on in years put me in a rather melancholy state.

It’s been thirteen years since I switched over from analog film to digital image capture and I am used to this work flow and the creativity and speed it allows, but I still miss film.

Photography was about tactile processes: loading ones own sheets of film or bulk rolling smaller format films; developing the negatives in a smelly darkroom; trimming the film into strips and sleeving them in archival pages; sitting with a loupe pondering over the images; and, when creating black and white imagery, making prints and experiencing the magic of the latent images emerging from the previously blank white paper.

As a professional photographer, film also meant an opportunity to meet up with other photographers at the lab when we were picking up our color prints. Now, for the most part, we are all hold up in our offices sitting at the virtual darkroom of our computers, detached from our colleagues. We have meet-ups now, but they are in bars or other venues removed from the photography environment and it’s not the same as chatting about projects at hand while perusing through each others proof prints at the lab.

I do commercial, portrait and event photography and my clients want the speed which digital image-making renders. We may have way more control and creative possibilities now, but I still miss film.

Photography has become another entity altogether and I appreciate and enjoy these new possibilities, but I miss the tactile process; I miss the professional interraction; I miss the darkroom. The magic is gone and I miss that.


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