I’ll Never Let Go, Film Photography. I’ll Never Let Go.

Why, oh why, oh why is film photography dying? I just can’t take it. It’s even going faster than newspapers. WHY?!?!?!?! For me, nothing in the world compares to a hand-developed black and white photograph that is full of grain and character. No amount of airbrushing could possibly make the subject of such a photo look any more beautiful. I’ll even settle for commercially developed prints, but those services are getting harder and harder to find.

Many of the pharmacies and photo shops that used to offer in-house processing no longer provide the service.  One hour photo is a thing of the past, especially for black and white. Consider my recent experience dropping off a B&W roll from vacation, full of photographic gems, to be developed at Walgreens. What did I receive when I picked it up? Only a blank roll improperly processed with color chemicals. ARGGG! Rolls that I subsequently had commercially developed and printed, both color and B&W, just didn’t come out looking the way they should have.

I always dreamed of building a darkroom in my basement to have ultimate control over my prints, but now I’m not sure that the chemicals will even be available by the time that dream is attainable. Film photography is a dying art that is inimitable in any other form. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate digital photography’s abilities and have captured images that are beyond film’s capabilities. Digital also provides the ability to more quickly and cheaply craft the final results I’m looking for. But it never has quite the same amount of individual character as film does.

Do any of you still shoot in film, particularly in B&W? If so, where do you get your film developed and printed? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

Next time, I’ll discuss my experiences shooting in color film! Also, please note that these photos are subject to copyright and should not be used for impermissible purposes (like being republished without my permission).

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I’ll Never Let Go, Film Photography. I’ll Never Let Go. — 3 Comments

  1. I’ve just begun shooting C-41 process black & white to deal with the processing issues. Jury still out.

    I had a full-on B&W darkroom in the 70s. The printing process was tedious and I never got that good at it. I also hated mixing chemicals, clean-up, drying prints and the whole thing took up a fair bit of space. Don’t want to do go back to that.

    My thinking, as a long-time amateur but very much an amateur nonetheless, is that the golden mean of ease, expense and results will be developing film at home and then scanning the negatives for digital touchup and/or sharing and/or printing. If there’s an occassional special photo, I can always get it printed by a real chemical-process lab.

    Now that I’ve indulged myself by pontificating, the reason I’m here is to say that I think some of the photos you posted are fabulous! Thanks.

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