Written by Arabella Bradley (@arabella_luisa)
Over the last few years, film photography has had a bit of a revival. It’s most commonly viewed as a hobby for pretentious artsy people (definitely not denying that is true), but the stigma is probably due to the fact places like Urban Outfitters have been stocking Polaroid and tomography cameras in recent years, thus making it ‘cool’ to own a film camera of some description. Gone are the days of the DSLR craze where everyone thought themselves a photographer because they could afford an expensive digital camera to take photos of their friends on.
For me the appeal is a more nostalgic one. I love the idea of having prints of your photos, which isn’t something most people make the effort to do in an age where everything is recorded digitally. I know you could have photos printed from your phone, but I know I’d never get round to doing it. With film, you’re forced to make the effort to get it developed, as its the only way you’re going to find out what your photos look like. I think there’s something quite appealing in the element of surprise that film offers (or in my case, the horror when they turn out blue and blurry and you realise you’ve wasted about £15 – see below).
My interest in film was sparked by Lizzy Hadfield, who documents her life from week to week on her 35mm film camera. The grainy quality of film really appeals to me, and I have to commend her for veering away from the traditional fashion blogger rulebook where photos have to be perfectly crisp, bright, and in focus.
After doing a bit of research to find out whether somebody as technologically challenged as myself could ever succeed at taking photos on film, I came across the boys who run Negative Feedback. These guys are the kingpins of film photography. Not only are their photos beautiful to look at, but they have a Youtube channel which has loads of tips on how to take photos on all kinds of film cameras: disposable cameras, 35mm, medium format, and even large format. I definitely recommend checking them out if you have an interest in trying out film photography but are pretty clueless as to how to go about doing it.
So when I found an old camera in my grandma’s loft, I was desperate to give film photography it a go myself. I thought I’d share some of the results (some are admittedly more successful than others), to prove that the film photography revival is accessible to all, you just have to persevere with it.
All photos taken by myself (@arabella_luisa) on a Chinon C-G5.