Pet Peeves About Photography & Film Versus Digital
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people go nuts over photo gear. As if your equipment somehow makes you more skilled or creative! I’ve had people ask me, back when I used SLRs, if I thought Nikon or Canon were better. And while i preferred Canon, it really didn’t and doesn’t matter. Any functioning camera is the best one. Some of my personal favorite images I’ve captured have been with a plastic (body, lenses and all), toy TLR that I had to assemble by hand. What it really comes down to to be a great photographer is how passionate you are about the craft (not to be confused with the movie The Craft) and how well you can critique yourself and work to progress and grow.
That being said, I do believe that there is gap between photographers who shoot film vs digital. I use both.
With film, I feel that the greater resources it requires hones your show more that digital can. With the money spent on film, processing & printing (through a professional lab or yourself in a darkroom) you can calculate how much each images costs you and how much you’ve wasted on bad photos. By necessity you get better, otherwise you just bleed cash.
The amount of time and physical work that goes into film photography with developing, processing & darkroom editing/printing, also separates those who who just think photography is cool and those who have a real passion.
There’s also the intangible quality of film’s look (#BlueSteel or #Magnum anyone?). Companies like VSCO have created tools to help digital photographers emulate film photography but it still doesn’t quite compare.
I personally have other reasons why i still prefer film. Peoples’ reactions to my cameras that are at least 2 to 3 times older than me are great. There’s also the phyisical nature of film photography. From the durable, substantial metal constructions of the cameras to the tangible/tactile nature of film negatives, there’s something lacking with digital photography and its necessary paraphernalia that film has in spades.
I’m not opposed to digital photography though, I do carry around a high end digital camera on an almost daily basis when I take my lunch breaks during work days. The financial economics, size, weight and ease of use make digital very attractive.
The major downside with digital photography to me is the ubiquity of DSLRs and smartphone with cameras. Anyone with a cheap digital camera they got as a present can label themselves as a photographer, regardless of their skill or creativity. Carrying around a camera but putting no effort into improvement or challenging yourself or abilities is a complete waste.
On the upside to cameras’ ubiquity, even without a dedicated camera on me I can capture great images in surprisingly good quality with my phone.
Film and digital photography both have their merits and faults. It’s just a matter of understanding both medias qualities and when to utilize it.
PS. I read an interesting article about a blind test done with a bunch of well known, as well as independent, filmographers. What they did was to screen clips of films shot on digital and film and see by pure aesthetics which would get more votes. and they all unanimously picked the clips from films shot on film.