I'll take any good news at this stage, but am slightly annoyed by the focus on 'imperfections', and quality problems they talk about as permeating the craft of film photography, while in fact pictures with comparable precision to digital can also be achieved, depending on equipment and, most of all, skill.
I'm glad they wrote the article, however, and it's nice that people (a lot of them) who read the NY Times can see that there is a fun alternative to smart phone cameras and digital SLRs.
I agree with Thomas, the focus on the "imperfections" of film is overblown - if there is a spot on the lens, it doesn't matter what medium you are using, it will end up in the picture. What I don't get is the idea that using film is a completely novel method, almost like it is a new product used by Japanese street kids which is slowly trickling into the NY underworld. The average age of a reader of the New York Times is probably much higher than 25 and probably remembers using film very well, both the excitement of opening the prints and seeing what you captured as well as the disappointment for not getting it exactly right (often). Most of the difficulties they describe were more from user error than from film usage. Still, it is nice to be noticed once in a while.
I applaud every use of film, since that helps to keep the film that I use in production.
I must admit I'm a bit tired of the light leaks, vignetting and blurry approach to film. It's as though popular culture is creating a false memory of what film was like. Or was it really like that for most people?
(Of course I shot plenty of bad photos in my old film days. But as far as I can remember these were due to focus or exposure errors, not light leaks or rubbish lenses. Then again, I shot with a Nikon FM.)
[edit: ahh - I had the post up in a tab for a while before I responded. I see several others have said much the same in the meantime!]
It's an aesthetic hook, a cute form of shorthand to give people a quick reference to the subject.
Almost any newspaper does this - they need a central idea or 'hook' to base a story around. Of course, with film there's 100 or 1000 different paths they could write about, including the much more representative fact that film quality approaches or exceeds digital, in many cases.
Anyway, it was good to read this and I think it's entirely valid that someone who may not have thought about film could read this, and serve as an entry into exploring more.
Anyways, with columnists clamoring about Lomo, Holga and Diana cameras, is it any wonder they write about the light leaks and film spilling all over? It can be tricky loading a "toy" camera with 120, but it's quite easy with my Fuji GA645zi.
I can certainly appreciate a "lomo" approach to photography, but the article does give the mistaken impression that film itself is to blame for "imperfections," as if getting a clean, coherent image on film is wildly unpredictable and subject to any number of uncontrollable factors.