Film Factor: A Spotlight on Analog Photography

Photo by Alex Strehl.

In the age of Instagram and fancy DSLR cameras, many expected film to quickly and silently vanish. Instead, the rise of digital cameras brought about a renewed interest in the medium. Here’s a selection of photographers and photobloggers who keep the quirky, warm magic of film alive.


Polina Washington

nastyahands

Polina is a photographer with a keen interest in self-portraiture, a topic she’s also written about on her blog.

Polina Washington, based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, explores identity, folklore, and landscape through analog techniques like film soaking and multiple exposure. The resulting images — like in her dvrkvisions series — are haunting and strangely familiar, like dark fairy tales come to life.


Best in Black and White

Ilford Photo has been a leading manufacturer of black-and-white film since the 19th century; on the company’s blog, aptly named Best in Black and White, you’ll find choice monochrome photography and essays by the genre’s devotees.

A recent post by Hamish Gill, a professional photographer with a soft spot for film, makes the case for the endurance of analog — even among those whose careers involve heavy use of digital cameras:

Film photography’s ability to sit outside of those “advances” offers us photographers some respite from technology. It offers us a chance to indulge in something pure. Give me a battered old Leica M3 over any digital camera any day of the week, not just for the joy of film, but also just for the escape from all the damned bloody buttons that modern technology brings us!

To illustrate his point, Hamish presents a gorgeous side-by-side still life of two cameras, the spare (analog) Leica M-A and its (digital) multi-buttoned cousin, the Sony A7rii:

cameras (hamish gill)


Andrea Lambe

img_6834 (andrea lambe)

Thinking about diving into film photography but not sure how to gear up? Stephen Dowling shares camera reviews on his analog photoblog, Zorki Photos.

Andrea Lambe, who lives and works in Dublin, is a voracious learner — which led her to explore both digital and analog photography. It’s in the latter, though, that some of her most fascinating experiments take place. Case in point: the image above, “Rush-Hour in CrazyVille,” with its blurry motion and intriguing, layered reflections.


Alex Strehl

tunnel-bw (Alex Strehl)

For regular doses of analog shots, pay Alex Strehl’s blog a visit. Working in color as well as in black and white, Alex’s focus on gritty urban landscapes and concrete-heavy architecture is a perfect match for film’s textured, grainy quality.


Analog Anecdotes

Jpeg

The blogger at Analog Anecdotes enjoys having a trusty Minolta X-700 around for whenever inspiration might strike. A recent post reflects on the stretched-out temporality of film photography, when a roll can stay inside the camera for months — only to then have its ends shredded during the (distinctly non-digital) wind-back process:

The Lazy period is a time of scarcity. It is a time when the camera stays weeks on the shelf before I take it out for a walk to shoot one picture (or none). The obvious disadvantage is that it seems to be taking forever to get my hands on the developed pictures. But the pro is that eventually I have an absolutely unique set of images, unrelated in subject, location, and — usually — inspirational source.

[…]

It is a hauntingly beautiful thing. The Lazy period shows the true value in analog photography.

Except when your camera refuses to wind back the film properly, and rips the two ends of the strip into shreds.


WE<3ANALOG

swimming pool (martina, i<3analog)

If you ever thought that film photography is a clunky medium that takes itself too seriously and ruins any notion of spontaneity, you might reconsider once you’ve visited WE<3ANALOG. On the surface, it’s a personal blog where Slovakia-based Martina chronicles her travels and shenanigans. But you’ll soon see that it’s not just another photoblog — the images are analog, adding rich textures and a playful retro vibe to each post. Call it a reverse-engineered Instagram feed, if you will.


For other excellent blogs, be sure to check our photography and photo essay archives.

June 6, 2016Art, Landscape, Nostalgia, Photo Essay, Photography, Travel, , , , ,