There’s something about the waiting that made film photography more special. The time created anticipation which allowed us to forget the details of the moment, and relive it when we finally saw the film and prints.
I was just talking to someone recently about this, as I was carrying a Leica IIIf around my neck, that in the analog days, film was magical, the photographer the magician, and getting a photo meant hiring a photographer to make that image.
Nowadays, shoot it any way with any camera, even a phone, drop a few filters on the shot, and it’s good enough. There is no magic. The art director can fine tune the shot in camera and see the finished image before the photographer even leaves the shoot.
Even when I shoot digital, if I shoot your portrait, I will never show you the photo right there. Because, it’s not about seeing it yet, but waiting until it’s finished. And digital photographs need finishing.
Right now, there is film with latent images in my Leica that I don’t remember, and I will be transported back to where they were taken once the roll is finished and developed. And I’ll have that experience all over again.
I love film for that reason. It’s not spray and pray. It’s not ones and zeroes buried on a card, a phone, a hard-drive. It’s a photograph. Time captured in silver. Light burnt from that unique moment onto that actual piece of film.
You realize that film was present at the event. That frame saw your Grandpa in that long-lost roll of film, with the latent image still intact, awaiting processing all these years.
The magic is gone with digital. The photographers lost out. And we all did when “good enough” with a few filters replaced the masterful technique of recording light.