Here’s Why I Started Shooting Film Photography Professionally

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Often in life we rush from one moment to the next. We can’t wait to get to high school, then drive, then college, then get married, then kids, then watch them grow up, be successful, get married, have children, and then we start pumping the breaks. We’ve rushed through life anticipating one milestone after the next, not once stopping to truly live in the moment. Do you disagree with me? Are you reading this on your smart phone or tablet while life is happening all around you?

Life is good, don’t get me wrong. Every year seems to be better than the last. However, I sometimes wish I could go back to when I was a child and time seemed to stop for the few months of summer break when school was a distant thought and fighting the next imaginary soldier, cowboy, or robber was my only concern (I was the only soldier that wore a cape and cowboy boots in my imaginary army). I distinctly remember the smell of the grass, the glow of the lightning bugs, and the feel of freshly caught toads peeing in my hand out of sheer hysteria because a giant just plucked them from the cool summer grass they’d just been hopping carelessly through.

All those feelings, those memories, that nostalgia, add up to why I started shooting film recently. I’ve taken a walk down memory lane and have lost myself in a simpler time that’s the emotional equivalent to wrapping yourself up in a blanket that smells like your moms perfume and home. Each time I pull back the lever that advances the roll of film I feel like I am transported back to the days of manually adjusting the television antenna with a small electronic nob next to the T.V. with a compass drawn around it. The sound of the film advancing is as calm and comforting as watching Saturday morning cartoons on my parents floor while my dad mops the kitchen floor.

Film photography, to me, is a window to a truly special but short time of my life. A time that was simpler and pure, before life had cast it’s shadow on my over optimistic world view. This is why I’ve decided to shoot film professionally along with digital.

If you follow be prepared to read much more about film photography but also know I will never make the assertion that one is better than the other. They are both great in their own ways, they both have limitation and advantages. Arguing one is better than the other is equivalent to arguing whether the glass is half empty or half full, an exercise of futility.


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3 replies on “Here’s Why I Started Shooting Film Photography Professionally”
  1. says: John Robin

    Film lives on! I love my Nikon D300 but shoot film with a Minolta Autocord. The Minolta doesn’t even have a built in light meter.

  2. I’m looking forward to following along with your journey. I recently had my main camera and lens collection stolen while on a trip to San Francisco (Sony a7ii). As relief from obsessing about how to replace my digital gear, I pulled out my old OM-1n, found a few batteries, and bought some B&W film. What a refreshing change! Slowing down, seeing photographically, less mental clutter, just the essential manual controls. I even dug out my old Olympus XA so that I could always have it in my pocket. There definitely is some connection that at least makes it feel like there is a more direct reflection of the state of mind of the photographer in the images. Maybe it’s just recalling old habits and bringing back a feeling of youth? Definitely a fun way to add a dimension to my enjoyment of photography.

    1. says: John Barbiaux

      Hey Dave,
      Glad you’re along for the ride! Sorry to hear about your main camera. Film is everything you mentioned; refreshing, less mental clutter, just the essentials, fun. I was a little burned out after completing some big projects this year and film has really helped me rekindle my creative fires so to speak. I don’t know about you, but I’m finding shooting film correlates well with improving my digital shooting as well. Enjoy the journey!

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