I shoot film because that's what my cameras take.
I shoot film because that's what my cameras take.
POST #8, I shoot film and make silver prints because I enjoy the process from start to finish. I work on computers at my job and use them in my life. When I want to be creative I look to a hands on process, silver photography. Photography for me is not a profession, only a passion. So I would say that there is a clear 3rd reason which is neither self delusion nor made up nonsense.
I didn't watch the video because I'm busy not working and don't want to make that too obvious to the other people in the meeting, but from the little bit of text and the images on the page, I notice a few things:
1) I don't see anything intrinsically "film" about those photos. The first one has the characteristic lo-fi-Instagram look, which of course is inspired by imitating certain types of analog images; and I guess that image exemplifies how successful it's been. In one of those tail-chasing anxiety-of-influence situations, we're now at the point where film can look like it's imitating digital imitating film!
2) The title refers to some *pro* photographers shooting film, which ought to obviate certain reasons discussed in this thread. "Fixer smells good" is a good reason to pick a workflow as a hobbyist photographer, but using criteria like that for professional work seems like an invitation to commercial failure. I suppose there are exceptions for people whose preference for "real" darkroom processing is so strong that it enables them to do more salable work, and for that tiny sliver of fine-art photographers who make a living on sales of platinum prints or what-have-you, but basically all the putative romance and charm seem to me like they'd be distractions from the business of making a living.
3) I'm annoyed by the either-or mentality about film and digital, and the seeming inability of many people to just shut up and let photographers shoot what they please when they please, without public navel-gazing about the cultural implications of that choice. But I guess live-and-let-live doesn't get people to click on the headline.
4) Fixer does smell good. At least, acid fixer does, but TF-5 is more practical; and I've ended up with TF-5, so I guess I privilege pragmatism over romance?
5) Agreed with others about the archival (or at least "persistent") aspects of film. I've got a cabinet full of slides and negatives that I expect will still be viewable in a couple of generations; those couple of generations can worry about what to do with them, but in the meantime the only backup plan needed is "don't let the house burn down". I was trying to do that anyway.
I would agree there is no technical or aesthetic reason to prefer film, but I just prefer the medium, in the same way that someone may prefer to make silk screens or paint or make lino cuts, whatever.
projecting slides is cool....ooops I guess Kodak doesn't want to mention that!
I know how to make good looking prints in the darkroom, and I enjoy having physical objects to work with. I just can't get into using my computer to scan negs or import files and then working in the digital domain to get my final picture. I just don't like it. Being in the darkroom, however, with trays of chemicals, boxes of paper, safelights, print washer, etc, it all gets my juices flowing and I can disconnect from the rest of the world for a while. That is the beauty for me. Playing with toners, flattening prints, spotting prints - it all is just on a whole different level of satisfaction to me and my senses.
When I photograph with film, I also have an instinct from all of the years in the darkroom, where the whole work flow from exposing the film to toning the prints repeats itself in an instant in my subconscious, as I frame the shot. It's like I can feel what happens next, like dominoes it's like a chain reaction in my brain that dictates what I do with the camera. It's so ingrained in how I work with the camera that I just wouldn't want to even try to change it.
Whenever I borrow a digital camera and shoot with it, I end up basically loading the pictures on my computer, and then nothing ever happens with them. The only time I use digital photographs to any extent is when I use the iPhone and post something on Facebook or Twitter. I have, a couple of times, shot something with the iPhone, made a digital negative of the file, and printed a lith print on silver paper. That works really well, but even after creating the digital negative and printing it, I just failed to see the point.
When this video came out I was surprised at the amount of negative reaction from film photographers. I think that you've got to put it in perspective: It's some guys who run a film lab, going on a road trip and talking to people (probably their clients) about why THEY shoot film. Most of all it's just fun.
We all have our own reasons for shooting film or digital or whatever... Best not to get too worked up about why other people do it. Just be glad that they do.
That being said, if you watch another recent doc, Everybody Street, you'll hear some of the most famous New York photographers saying the same kinds of things about why they prefer film.