Revisiting Film Photography

Joy Celine Asto re-introduces us to film and explains why it's a medium that shouldn't be forgotten.

|  Film Cameras and Film
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Article By Joy Celine Asto -

Film as a photographic medium needs no introduction, but instead, a re-introduction in this time and age of modern photographic gadgetry. Forget about pixels, automatic exposure, and the so-called digital darkroom, and go back to the days of film rolls, trips to the laboratory, and actual photographic prints. 

Before there were high-tech image sensors, Photoshop, and EXIF data, there were photosensitive plates, and eventually, photographic film. Back then, snapping photos meant taking consideration a lot of things: which camera to use, lenses to equip, film format, black and white film or color film, and so on. Not to forget the technical aspects as well, like setting and checking the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed before taking the first shot. 

Some of these considerations have certainly been retained and made easier to calibrate in digital photography, leading to the shift from analogue to digital and the belief that film is dead. But, is it, really?

Nikon FE2 + Expired Fuji Superia 400
Photo by Joy Celine Asto. Nikon FE2 + Expired Fuji Superia 400.

A quick Google search of "film photography" will bring you several websites offering information, tips, and tricks for those still interested in the now specialized form of photography. Look for photographs taken using all sorts of film in various formats and you'll be amazed to find so many eye-catching ones. Online shops such as eBay are also stocked with vintage cameras and films (both fresh and expired), suggesting that there are still photographers buying, selling, trading, and using film cameras. Oh, and don't forget the numerous camera phone applications and image editing effects that mimic the hues and feel of film.

Then, there’s the long-running film photography movement called Lomography, where the quirks of film—overexposure, oversaturation, overlapping images, color shifts, grain, blur, and such--that many find unpleasant are often embraced to make photos more striking. Instead of high-tech cameras that produce near-perfect pictures, lomographers often use simple plastic cameras and vintage cameras; and instead of digitally editing the photos to sport a retro look or a vibrant hue, they use various films to achieve their desired effects.

What makes film appealing in an era where editing an image to perfection is almost paramount? Part of its charm is the element of nostalgia—there's something rewarding about going back to the days of loading and shooting a roll of film, taking it to the lab, and waiting for it to be processed and printed. Speaking of prints, many film photographers also opt to have their snapshots printed, because for them, one can only truly appreciate a photograph when comes in a tangible form.

Many also still value the timeless quality unique to film photographs; anyone who's been shooting with film will tell you that the photos have more depth and "personality" compared to the digitally snapped (and altered) ones.

So, where do all these lead us? It's safe to conclude that if you go to the right places, stumble upon the right websites, and meet the right people, you'll definitely see that film, while certainly facing a challenging time, is not yet dead.   

Article By Joy Celine Asto. Visit for more information.

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