I’ve been dabbling in photography. To get my feet wet, I bought a used DSLR (a Canon D60) from a guy off the List of Craig a few years ago. Some of my favorite subjects are cars, so this was a great chance to work on honing my skills. Standing on a snowy corner in Northern Michigan waiting for a car to come careening on the edge of control around a corner I realized: film is dead.
OK, maybe it’s not quite that drastic. I mean, movies are still shot on film (although digital is taking over that industry, too), and lots of people like to use old film cameras because of some of the effects it gives. However, for most people in all situations, film is dead. We grab our smartphones and take photos that are better than my first digital point and shoot could. We have fancy DSLRs that let us review our photos on a small LCD screen immediately, so we can try to take a better photo if that last one didn’t quite come out tack sharp. Then you can load the files from the camera into Photoshop and fix things like red eye or even completely change the image to something that isn’t anything close to what you actually photographed.
That wasn’t the case with film. You’d load the film in the camera, shoot a bunch of photos, get the film developed (or do it yourself if you had your own darkroom), and hope and pray to the gods of photons that some usable photos came out of all your time and money.
It’s a pain in the *ss. But for 160 years — from the first daguerreotypes in the mid-1800s to about 2011* — the image was stored on film and the painstaking process was a dance with the fates and skill. For all that pain in the *ss, you got a completely analog photo. You got a representation of the light and colors the camera saw.
I can’t say I’m wholly sad or wholly happy that film, for all intents and purposes, is dead. In some ways, the connection to the photo that can only be had by having to carefully take a shot then develop the print is something that can’t quite be matched in today’s digital world. In other ways, being able to shoot a crapload of photos onto an SD card then fix the photos up a bit in Photoshop before publishing to Flickr is more immediately rewarding.
*Film died very slowly, so an exact date is completely fabricated.
[Image Credit: Shirimasen]