Film Photography

30Dec13

It is predicted that by 2015, the supply of colour film for movies will be depleted. For a lot of people this won’t be a game changer as digital photography and movies have been with us for awhile. As late as 2009 I was still using a film camera. For the average person, digital photographs trump the “analog” film. But does it really?

I asked myself this as I was organizing some photographs of family members. I can see 8 year old Olivia progress from baby to skinny girl, but her younger brother Jimmy only exists as pixels within a digital frame. Photographer Robert Burley has mused on the death of film in his book, “The Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the End of the Analog Era.” I am old enough to recall collections and scrapbooks of the physical object of pictures, and Burley said that they “age along with us.” By going digital and storing pictures in the cloud we gained convenience and permanent storage, but we lost artifacts. We also no longer trust photographs as a true representation of reality, as manipulating digital images is considered common place. The pervasiveness of digital photograph has served to also undermine our connection to them. They are no longer special, when anyone can snap selfies. It is great that the technical capacity exists for anyone to be an Ansel Adams. But eons from now, I wonder how archivists will theorize the place of print photographs in media. They might be considered the Egyptian scrolls of our time.

Something to think about as I go off to print off some pictures for Great Aunt, who still believes in the object of photographs.

– Brenda

Inspired by book on film photography’s demise

Long but worthwhile on near death  of 35 mm film

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