- One of the reasons we're living in a golden age of photography is because we not only have all the digital tools I've been talking about, we have the whole noble history of analog photography, too. And best of all, we have ways to combine the two. That can take a lot of different forms. One is photo restoration. Scanning vintage photos and then reversing the effects of time. Fixing scratches, fading, and other problems. There's also the world of colorizing, using Photoshop to add color to old black and white images. But where analog really gets interesting is when you shoot film for yourself.
Not only does film have it's own look, but the act of shooting it is good discipline. When you're using a roll of film that holds only a few dozen shots, you might find yourself taking a more thoughtful approach to photography. That's a great creative exercise. It isn't hard to process your own black and white film and when you're done, you can either scan it, or take the next step: set up a dark room and make your own prints. Then there's instant photography, or at least instant the way people used to define it. I'm talking about Polaroid cameras and their cousins the Instax cameras from Fuji.
You can still get film for some old Polaroids and the Instax cameras are being made right now. Instant film can have a unique, almost romantic look to it and because these are cameras that make prints, some travel and street photographers use them to break the ice with people who they want to photograph. Finally, at the creative fringes of photography, you'll find what are often called alternative processes. These are techniques where you make your own light-sensitive paper to get results that are literally hand-made. This is photography from scratch, and even here there's a digital angle.
You use an inkjet printer to produce large digital negatives for analog printing. My point is that photography didn't begin when digital cameras got good enough to replace film. If you're serious about this art form, you owe it to yourself to experience its roots.
- Essential gear, including cameras, lenses, accessories, and smartphones
- Shooting skills
- Using software to manage and edit your images
- Sharing and printing photos