The Future of Film Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by IanWilliams, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. IanWilliams

    IanWilliams TPF Noob!

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    OK, Here goes! Contentious issue in a digital forum, but I would be interested to hear your views and opinions. This is not a debate as to which medium is best. It is simply a thread to establish where the future of film photography lies. I am a mature student at NESCOT, near Epsom in Surrey, coming to the end of a foundation degree in photography and for my extended study essay, I have decided to investigate what the future of film photography holds in the 21st century digital age, so any thoughts and opinions will be very gratefully received.

    For your information, I very much prefer film photography and shoot with a Mamiya 7 and Hasselblad XPan, as well as a Shen Hao 54 camera. Although it was digital that re-ignited my passion in photography it is film that really inspires me, so much so that I have sold pretty much all of my digital gear except my Panasonic GF-1. I also work for a Canon Pro dealer and Phase One retailer, and even being surrounded by this technology I really feel most comfortable with a film camera as my companion!

    Please let me know your thoughts on the destiny of film photography. For example, is it worth the investment of perhaps several hundreds, even thousands, of pounds in film equipment? Are there future advances to be made in film emulsions and papers? Is film photography still a viable proposition in the commercial arena? Which medium do you prefer (film or digital, and why?)? Are there more advances to be made in scanning and/or printing?

    I look forward to your replies.

    Regards

    Ian
     
  2. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    IMO.

    Film will continue as hobby and art medium.
     
  4. Formatted

    Formatted TPF Noob!

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    Agreed
     
  5. Atmosphere

    Atmosphere TPF Noob!

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    Well I have been working with film for almost 2 years (rocking out with a canon F1-N from the 70s) and I feel that with all variables, film photography really makes shooting more personal and it makes the learning process more concrete. To wait to develop a roll that you shot earlier, to see the mistakes, and to try to figure them out is really fun. For me at least, I like being able to be really hands on with the whole process. Not saying that film is better than digital or vice versa, its just that they both have strong points that make each one good. I think that film will continue to be a hobby for many in the future.
     
  6. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    Well, in so far as my personal preference it's mostly dead! I know there is still a lot to be learned from using film if you have the time and money, but I actually don't particularly care to go and sit in a dark room and develop negatives from film myself.

    I'm actually not going out of my way to pick a school when I go back that does teach film as well as digital. Got nothing against film, artistically speaking, for what I want to do film is a waste of time and money. I'd much rather be spending my $$$$ on good digital camera and related equipment that will do me good professionally down the road than not. I actually can't afford the chemicals and paper route and still afford tuition.

    I used to live in an area where there was still a good old-style photo store, but I don't now and in this area good film and developing chemicals are very hard to get. There isn't much in the way of a good supply of film-related gear and what there is has gotten extremely expensive, probably because film is now being seen as an "artistic" medium vs the practical one.

    There is only one real local photography school. I was first looking at them several years ago and back then they still did a lot of film work. They finally quit because it was costing their students upwards of 2X the actual tuition of the course to continue with that practice. They ultimately decided it was more cost effective and practical to put that money into digital imaging techniques and tools because the vast majority of the instructors and students had already chosen to go digital anyway. This school is where 99% of the wanna be photographers in this area train, and I'm told they were very resistant to change on that score. But the cost of tuition is sky rocketing and I guess if they wanted to keep the students coming they just had to make the switch.

    I do think film will always be around and maybe when I'm working professionally, have the time, all my necessary equipment in hand I will go and learn developing someday just to have the experience, but I have no intention of working in film professionally, and that's a luxury having both kinds of cameras and it's optional training really considering I'll likely never get seriously into it. My favorite darkroom is Photoshop. Smelly chemicals and expensive film? Not a real big love here. I say use them if it still suits you but I'm not too interested really.
     

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