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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography LCA 120 black and white images (5 of 11)

Film–the beauty of it has inspired apps like Instagram and loads of profiles that digital photographers think can be easily adapted to mimic the look of the celluloid and chemical reaction’s results. You can probably say this about color photography, but there is no way it can be said about black and white. For what it’s worth, black and white film looks beautiful and is much more organic than most results that you’d get from a digital camera.

Here are a bunch of black and white films that we think you’ll fall in love with.

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The advent of 35mm photography largely simplified the picture-taking process, and cameras become far more affordable and accessible. Before this, however, the process was much slower, more intricate, and greater technical knowledge was necessary to get the result. The history of photography, both as an art form and a technical process, is, in a word, fascinating.

Thankfully, the George Eastman House has put together a beautiful series of videos about photographic processes well before the advent of 35mm photography. The 12-chapter series explores the Daguerreotype, Talbot’s processes, the cyanotype, the collodion, albumen printing, platinum printing, pigment processes, the Woodburytype, the gelatin silver process, color photography and digital photography. Each episode is around five minutes long for easy viewing.

Take a dive with the first video embedded below.

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The story of Galaxy is similar to that of the Impossible Project except that Galaxy is trying to revive an old Kodak process. According to the company’s Kickstarter page, Kodak discontinued a line of direct positive paper back in the 1970s. For the uninitiated, direct positive paper is photosensitive paper where the image develops right onto the paper. Think of it like a wet plate or a Polaroid except that the paper doesn’t have the chemicals built in for development like Instant film does.

Galaxy found a book all about it and set about trying to find a way to re-create the paper in some ways. However, Galaxy believes that they can actually do a much better job and make the paper available in higher ISOs comparable to 120 film. They also claim that they can make the paper available with a higher dynamic range, and with an easier development process.

The paper, if funded fully on Kickstarter, will have a fixed grade contrast as well as a glossy embossed surface. Photographers will be able to shoot with it in 4×5″, 5×7″, 8×10″, 11×14″, 16×20″ with custom sizes available in 4×10″, 7×17″, 8×20″, 12×20″, 14×17″, 20×24″ and some rolls of different sizes. The idea of simply being able to shoot at 20×24″ with direct positive paper is thrilling!

So what will this mean for photographers? For those of us that still love to shoot with film (and there are a heck of a lot of you that read this site) we’ll have more options available in large format as both Kodak’s and Fujifilm’s numbers seem to be dwindling. Smaller and less traditional companies seem to be trying to keep it alive and do very well according to a recent investigation we did.

Large format positive paper offers a quality that you simply can’t duplicate with digital cameras. The grain is organic, the dynamic range may not necessarily be the same but the image is truly analog and tactile. If you shoot a 20×24 image, you can easily frame it and put it on your wall instead of needing to do the print out. That image is very much an original.

Head on over to the page’s Kickstarter for more info.

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All images by Chuck Miller. Used with permission.

Chuck Miller is a writer and photographer from Albany, N.Y. that’s been experimenting with film and digital photography for a long time. Some of his award-winning pictures involve cramming two rolls of 35mm film into a medium-format camera and exposing them simultaneously; modifying a camera to recreate the old horse racing “photo finish” exposures; and trying to resurrect Kodachrome color film by shooting pictures with color filters and composing the images from black-and-white sections.

However, he’s also very well versed in the use of Kodak Aerochrome–an infrared film first developed for military recon that essentially took greens in a scene and turned them purple. Other photographers likes Daniel Zvereff have done a great job with the film. Indeed, it was beautiful for artistic reasons until its discontinuation. But Chuck shot some incredible photos with the film, and we had the chance to talk to him about the experience.

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Kodak Ektar 25 Warm

Kodak Ektar 25 Warm

In the pantheon of film emulation software, the first name you probably think of VSCO, and for good reason. VSCOCam is one of the most popular editing apps for iOS and Android, and for Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop users, they’ve got a line of film packs that, up until this point, have offered well-known and oft-used films. Now, they have Film 07 – Eclectic Films, a ragtag collection of clean-looking presets. There are well over 100 presets across 18 films, some color, some black-and-white, and some tungsten-balanced. The company bills them as ideal for “portraits, night photography, and architecture,” but they’re good for more than that.

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Fuji T64

Fuji T64

VSCO’s got a new batch of presets for the 7th iteration of its film emulation software for Lightroom, and the results are decidedly eclectic. There are 17 films that come with VSCO Film 07 – Eclectic Films: 10 color films (Agfa, Fuji, Kodak), 3 black & white (Ilford, Kodak), and 4 Tungsten (Fuji, Kodak). We managed to get an early look at this latest installment, and the films are largely a thing of the past. That is to say, they don’t exist anymore, but VSCO’s managed to keep them alive in digital form.

A complete list of films and sample images are available after the jump. A comprehensive review is in the works.

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