Here’s an interesting perspective about film vs digital imaging. Film looks like past tense, and digital looks like present tense. Here’s an example that everyone will instantly understand. If I switch on the TV and the movie The Natural or Angels In the Outfield, or Bull Durham or any other baseball movie is on, in a scene of game action, no one will see the players and think they are watching the sports highlights. They can tell it looks like a movie, and not video from today’s MLB broadcast of your team, whatever city you’re in. It looks like a movie, like it was recorded and saved some time ago. Past tense.
Film has a dreamy, slightly soft quality, that looks like a moment stored, saved from the past. That’s what draws me to it, its slightly less real quality. Digital photography is sharper than film, I think, so if you’re out to shoot sharpness tests, go digital. But sharpness is not only what makes a great photograph.
Take this image. It’s of a friend and a dear childhood friend of his, goofing around at night with terrible light, hats creating shadows over faces, slightly blurry. Doesn’t matter a bit, this is a moment they’ll always remember. They were poking each other, after I prompted them from their standing, normal (and boring) pose. It’s two grown men being the boys they once were. It’s alive and captured beautifully on Tri-x with an Olympus OM2n with a 100mm f2.8.
I know there’s a need for digital in my work flow, for commercial work. But for personal work, I can’t help but want to pull out the film cameras and save my memories with this special silver-based medium.