Sometimes I do wonder, why even bother with film. Then, all I need to do is develop a roll, see the negatives, and then, I realize why. In my job as a programmer, I spend at least 8 hours per day with a computer. I remember when digital cameras first became available, I was fascinated with the instant gratification of the digital image.
Soon, it became painfully apparent that the images that came out of the camera were, shall we say, less than satisfactory. The next thing, naturally, was some image manipulation tool such as Photoshop, followed by the “light room”. This is all well and good, but it got old kind of quick. I go to work all day, work on a computer. I come home, take some photos with a highly computerized camera, download the photos to the hard drive (more computer terms), open up an application and work on these images.
Sure, it was great a times to learn about layers and masks and all of these cool things, but after a while, it just came down to learning another application. More computer work, if you will.
With film, I can experience the different characteristics of each film. I can experiment with different developer/film combinations. I can experiment with development time, agitation, temperature, and all manner of variables.
I feel, in this way, I am part of the process. However, I am still a hybrid, preferring to have a bit of convenience. Develop, scan, then manipulate. I do not miss having a full wet-darkroom complete with development trays and an enlarger. I’m just fine with inkjet and lightroom.
Finally, I guess that it is just the simplicity of the film camera. Point. Focus. Shoot. No menus. No nothing. You have to understand the metering of the camera and understand the limitations of the film that you are shooting. No helpful histograms or chimping to tell you if you got it right. You’re an integral part of the process.
Anyway, just food for thought.