slow photography // from digital to analogue



There seems to be a backwards shift in photography at the moment, with more and more photographers making the shift from digital to analogue mediums. We take a look at why people are shooting film, and what the advantages are of embracing slowness in photography. 



Digital photography is the antithesis of slow living. Anyone armed with even a primitive smartphone can now quickly snap a fast succession of shots with ease, minimal skill required.

Digital cameras can be used on automatic functions that do all of the work for you, or you can switch to manual and try your hand at amateur photography.

Professionals can take shot after shot after shot on their cameras, which, when linked to a computer, will instantly show them their work on screen, allowing them to ensure that they get the perfect photo.



So why do we see the likes of Juergen Teller and Lina Scheynius shooting on film for high profile advertising campaigns and iconic fashion magazines?

Remember that old quote, patience is a virtue? There’s something to be said about taking things slowly in order to produce an outstanding result.

Using a film camera means that every shot costs; you have to take your time judging the minute detail of every shot before clicking the shutter. This involves a tremendous amount of skill and precision, but, ultimately, should result in a reel of images that require very little (if any) editing. Consequently, this actually saves time later in the process, where a digital photographer may spend hours selecting from numerous shots and editing their images.



Many film photographers will tell you that they simply like the feeling of holding a physical photograph in their hand, rather than relying on online storage. Others will explain that they prefer the grainy aesthetic that film produces, much like vinyl advocates prefer the imperfect sound of a record to a CD.



Film photographer, Molly Steele states that "I shoot film because it's the medium through with photography was introduced to me. The aesthetic is preferable for me for its nostalgic quality. In addition, the experience of shooting without a screen or a way of viewing the images as I go keeps me present and selective."



As digital photography took off, and technology barrelled forwards, it may have looked at first like analogue cameras were going to be left in the dust. The resurgence of Soviet Lomography cameras in the 1990s brought hope to film advocates, as Lomography Society International replicated the LC-A and created similar plastic ‘toy’ cameras that became increasingly popular.

More recently, The Impossible Project began to produce instant film, as Polaroid announced they were ceasing production, and the Fujifilm Instax Mini became a hit. Alongside these trend-driven film cameras, avid collectors have trawled e-bay and flea markets, picking up Leica, Zenit and Contax models that have stood the test of time.

Learning to shoot film can be exceptionally rewarding if you embrace the slowness of the process and take your time. Labour over every single time you click the shutter and the end result will be a physical image that you can treasure.

All photographs by Molly Steele



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