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Why Choose Film in 2016?

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
2 min read

It's rare that a pro-analogue article gets beyond nostalgia, but European CEO gets it right in their post Film Photography Makes a Stunning Comeback (via David Sax):

"'Necessity is the mother of invention; there is no point staring at the back of a film camera after taking a shot – that time and energy is already going into the next one. Not knowing immediately what has been captured is a creative advantage', said Walter Rothwell, a professional photographer who regularly uses analogue cameras for his work."
Rothwell is not alone is this view, as more and more professional photographers are choosing film for similar reasons. This is particularly apparent in the world of fashion, as photographers seek to take back control of a creative process that is falling ever further into the hands of editors.

Hollywood Directors have made a similar argument in wrestling back control of filmmaking from high-paid actors who want to review the scene they just acted in to determine if it works best for them (not necessarily the movie).

Another part of the article that stood out:

"For related reasons, the Hasselblad Xpan, a panoramic film camera, is one of Rothwell’s favourites for personal work. 'The Xpan was a unique moment of madness from a large manufacturer; a comparatively small panoramic camera that shoots across two frames, producing very high quality negatives. Around 10 years ago, I noticed that I was ‘seeing’ panoramic photos, so I got the camera to answer a yen.' Rothwell’s panoramic street photography has earned him international acclaim, and while it would certainly be possible to use the panoramic mode on a digital camera or phone to replicate the effect, there is something about the lack of choice that lends his shots a unique feel. To stitch together a panorama from digital images with would not give the same results in terms of artistic impression, though the scene may be the same."

I cannot rationally explain my desire for the Xpan and Xpan II. They remain two of maybe a handful of cameras I still lust after (even after my A Lesser Photographer experiment) for the very reason stated above. I see in panoramas, but digital cameras have never offered a great way of capturing that vision.

The rest of the article offers the same arguments I've made here for years about the lack of an archival digital medium and the fact that most of our modern photos will probably disappear in short order. There may never be another Vivien Maier to discover.

I dare you to read the article and not fall in love with analogue again (if only for a few minutes).