Film Is Inaccurate and Real

Recorded on October 22nd, 2016

Random thoughts I had to get out:

I love film because it’s 100% physical and real. Light hits the film, that same film is developed, and then light passes back through it to light-sensitive paper and the image is summoned from the chemicals in it. I don’t need to waste time digitally emulating film’s grain or contrast curve. It’s not like all these things which are fake and mask what’s underneath:

  • Silver-painted plastic
  • Distressed furniture
  • Distressed new 70s t-shirts at Target
  • Tube/compressor emulation plug-ins in whatever digital audio workstation software you prefer

All I see now when I look at purely digital photos is blown highlights. Details are preserved with film non-linearly, and that inaccuracy matches what our eyes see and our brains remember.

For the longest time, I wanted to shoot 16mm b&w film. I even got a Bolex camera and shot and got processed a grand total of ONE reel before I realized how expensive the ritual was. I have an unnatural fixation on film grain and I miss it more than ever now that you never see actual film projected in movie theaters anymore. We are astronomically culturally poorer for this. Shooting still images on real film is a way to get that same fix (pardon the pun!) more often without going into massive debt.

Film photography is important because it’s something we can still do now that is the same as how it was before everything went digital, at least as far as the image capturing process goes.

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