Yes, you read that right. Film photography is not dead. Film still has a strong following among professional and amateur photographers looking to get back, so to speak, to photography’s roots. Film has a quality that can’t be matched by digital, and a certain nostalgic aesthetic that is easily recognizable. In my own camera arsenal, I have a working large format Graflex “press camera”, a medium format SLR, a 35mm Canon AE1, and post-war (1946) Canon Rangefinder, and a pair of Polaroid Land Cameras. All work, and I can still, at least for now, get film for them. I even have a darkroom for developing black and white.
Novelty right? What purpose do they serve in today’s digital photography world? Well, the reality is the Polaroids can serve a practical purpose in that they provide instant, hard copy results. Aside from that, it is purely a personal aesthetic. While I do offer film packages as an option, 99.99% of my business is digital. Here’s the BUT and what makes a film photographer stand apart from the run and gun snap shooters of today: Film forces you to slow down, compose carefully, expose properly, photograph sparingly, and become much more in tune with the process. A digital photographer with his or her roots in film has a much more solid background than a photographer with their roots in the iPhone 5.
When selecting a photographer for your next project, as how long they have been working as a professional and ask if they still use film. If they have never shot film, you may want to consider finding someone who has. At least you will know that you’ll have a photographer who is fully in tune with the craft.