Analog vs. Digital

Analog vs. Digital

I’ve seen some conversations on Instagram circling around the topic of analog vs. digital. I follow a lot of film die-hards but recently saw a primarily digital photographer post an opinion stating that he felt a lot of film photographers rely on the “vintage” aesthetic film provides to make up for their shortcomings in what I’m guessing he meant other aspects of photography: composition, framing, etc. I think it’s a pretty silly opinion as I don’t know any digital photographers who don’t rely on filters or Lightroom post-processing techniques to add a certain aesthetic to their photos as well. :)

It’s becoming the norm to see grainy, faded photos of festivals, friends hanging out, and whatnot circling around social media and I know lots of people who don’t consider themselves photographers but like to buy disposable cameras and shoot away at parties. I think it’s awesome! There’s an undeniable sense of nostalgia surrounding the film process: taking time to finish a roll by capturing the moments important to the shooter, dropping the film off at the lab, waiting the standard week to get them back, and finally going through each photo with nostalgic excitement at seeing the shots they remembered and forgot.

It’s a feeling I fell in love with as a twelve-year-old when my dad gifted me his old point-and-shoot. I shot our family vacation to the Grand Canyon and the roll I got back from Walmart 1 Hour Photo (throwback!) was filled with saguaro cacti in the Arizona deserts, blazing red sunsets, and my little sisters in the backseat of the car with their hair whipping freely between rolled-down windows. I later dropped the little film camera in a river hahah but I was sold.

I went on to study film photography and spent a lot of time in classroom critiques and therapeutic darkroom sessions. It was in class that my technical skills were refined but traveling that my love for film photography was fed.

Now, I understand the Team Pixel peeps. Shooting digitally admittedly provides much more flexibility in lots of aspects and, apart from the cost of getting set up with a system the photographer is happy and comfortable with, there’s not the added punch to the wallet that is film and development. Post processing is fun! There are endless options when editing colors, contrast, lighting that you can only go so far with on film. There’s also no wait; one can have a shoot, walk out the door to the closest cafe, and start editing away within minutes. You can have beautiful photos in front of you in literally moments. Enviable for sure and just a few reasons why I can’t cut digital out of my craft. Depending on what you’re going for, it’s important to be able to shoot both.

In spite of all this, I’m a film girl through and through. I will always prefer the process of slowing things down and taking my time to compose my shots while shooting a roll. In my personal experience, it is much more personal and intentional. I don’t have the distraction of a little LCD screen and the comfort of being able to shoot hundreds upon hundreds of shots in one session; I have to make an effort to compose an individual shot the way I picture it in my mind because each frame costs money, my friend. I looooove the dreamy colors and the unpredictability. There’s a certain risk involved with shooting film and I’m addicted to it.

So live and let live, to each their own. Just shut up and shoot.

Kodak Portra 400

Digital with VSCO Kodak Max 800+ preset

What do you fine folks prefer?