I Love Shooting Film, But I Hate the Film Photography Community
Let’s all share our passion of images instead of being purist a**holes
Like most millennial that didn’t go to art school, I started photography with my smartphone, then moved on to an actual DSLR, and I am now using a mirrorless camera. Because it’s trendy, you know. But I also shoot film. Probably because I’m a hipster. It looks cool to walk around with these old SLRs without taking any picture or pretending that you are composing a shot but giving up because you don’t want to waste a single of your 36 exposures.
I won’t go through the ‘shooting film slowed down my process and makes me think twice before pressing the shutter’ part because you probably already know about that. That’s not what I was looking for when I was started shooting film, but that’s what ended up happening anyway. Because I’m a millennial, I’m poor from drinking lattes and eating avocado toasts every day so spending money on film is almost like a luxury.
I enjoy shooting film. I like taking candids on film. Because it looks organic, because it makes me capture only these moments that make me deeply happy. It’s such a different experience. I keep my digital equipment for more professional stuff, but I use film for most of my photos.
While I’m enjoying the process, I have to say that I profoundly dislike the film photography community.
Like any other beginner in a field, I started looking at film photography online, to understand how it works and what you’re supposed to do, the best cameras to buy and so on.
What I found instead, was discussions between purists, despising every single beginners’ questions. Spitting on people that still use labs for development and scans instead of doing it themselves. Because according to these persons apparently, you’re supposed to spend thousands of dollars in your new hobby before you know if you enjoy it or not.
This community of people has crazy expectations. To be part of this community, you need to do film photography, like in the old days. No electronics in cameras, no light meters, no modern chemicals, nothing. You need to suffer and struggle! Because as we all know, if you took a great picture with your Nikon F3, it cannot be that great, because you were cheating, using the meter of the camera and probably shooting in aperture priority. Instead, you should shoot a Leica M3 (an M6 might be tolerated) without a meter, develop your film yourself, and make a print in a darkroom. Of course, if you scan it and edit it in Lightroom, you’re also cheating.
Pictures need to be proof that you suffered through the entire process of taking a photograph.
I am tired of these people trying to take the fun off of the process.
When things get too nerdy, they get boring. While the digital photography world keeps arguing over DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, the film photography community spend hours discussing if using a colored filter on your lens is considered cheating or not. While the digital photography world fights over how camera X is better than camera Y because camera X has three more focus points, the film photography community will only say that manual focusing counts.
Can’t people share their passion for images? It is getting so annoying that people are nerds on such details instead of enjoying images, compositions, edits, and so on. There are so many things that you can enjoy in photography, and I find it a shame that the purist film photography is being so elitist, making people think that film is such a long and painful process.
I hate the fact that I have to get away from these communities to be enjoying photography. I’m frustrated for having to not share my passion anymore because of what purists and elites might think. I wish it could be as simple as a bunch of people sharing art and vision instead of people being nerds about technique, gear, and authenticity.
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