Film lives, and has been thriving alongside the digital age, much to the surprise of many. But for those who still #believeinfilm and choose to #staybrokeshootfilm (along many other mantras and hashtags), the love for this old-fashioned medium goes beyond gathering likes and attention on social media. It’s a way of life. Many short films and documentaries have explored the so-called analog resurgence, and it seems we’ll keep seeing more of it. The latest to tackle the topic is NBC Left Field, which sought to find out why the younger generation are embracing the slower process of film.
If it’s perplexing to you why there are over 14 million posts hashtagged #FilmIsNotDead on Instagram, you’ll find some answers in the latest short documentary by NBC Left Field. Vintage camera sales are up, and film labs across the globe continue to develop films by the hundreds. In an era of high-tech digital cameras, flashy gear, and soaring megapixel counts, why is film photography still very much alive?
As the documentary revealed, much of the analog resurgence is community-driven. Even Kodak acknowledged that they owe their film sales to consumers who tell the world how much they love the film stocks. Shooting and developing film is a painstakingly slow, tedious, and expensive process compared to digital photography (and even smartphone photography). But these qualities are precisely what has endeared the medium to today’s younger generation — many of which never grew up having film cameras around. After being used to the instant gratification of smartphones and the ease of digital photography, they want to slow things down.
Interestingly, Instagram has been instrumental to the exponential popularity of film photography. Social media groups and pages have also been responsible for encouraging more and more people to either shoot film for the first time, or revisit their film photography roots. These film photographers have found ways to work with the digital world to further their analog passion. This has paved the way for tons of online resources and reference materials that have made the medium a lot easier to get into today. These facts aren’t new, but at 2020, we can’t help but be amazed to see how film photography has continued to thrive well into another decade.