A few years ago I attended a photography conference and left feeling inspired to try new things. Before the conference, I was feeling stuck. Like I had no creativity left. One of the speakers at the conference talked about getting out of creative ruts. She suggested learning film photography. In a way, it’s like starting all over again. And that can be a great thing for creativity. I was bored with photography because I knew the basics and I needed something to motivate me. I told this to my husband and a few weeks later, on my birthday, he gave me a Nikon F100 film camera. I stumbled my way through learning it and I was so excited to get my first scans back. When they arrived, I was so disappointed. Compared with my digital photography, they were terrible. I put the camera away for the next year. In 2017, I knew I had to either sell my film camera, or learn how to use it. I had seen a film class advertised and decided to just go for it. I learnt so much and started shooting film more frequently. I was starting to fall in love with the look of film. There is a certain nostalgia present when you look at film photography. The grain is so beautiful and reminds me of the photos of decades past.
Earlier this year in spring, I fell head over heels in love with it. There were two things that happened that made me want to shoot film all the time. The first was the movie Kodachrome. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it. It’s about a man and his father who travel across country to get the last rolls of Kodachrome developed before the lab closes forever. It is so beautiful, so nostalgic and I couldn’t get over the beauty of film photography. The second thing was the royal wedding. Yes, I realize that sounds weird. During the coverage leading up to the wedding, there were so many beautiful images shown of Princess Diana and her boys. All shot on film, with that beautiful grain that is only achieved in film photography. It made me want to turn back time for a while. These two things made me want to shoot film forever.
If you’re considering learning film, I say go for it. Film is not dead and it’s a beautiful way to improve your digital photography too. It really makes you slow down and focus on what you’re photographing instead of just snapping away as we’ve become accustomed to with digital photography. When I think of film, I think of endless summers, long childhood days, and beautiful family memories.
Here are some of my favorite film photographs.