Film nostalgia

People remember film with romanticism. I understand that. The photo below is of my grandparents.


I never met my grandfather, whom I’m named after. When I view the original slide I know the light that reflected off my grandfather, through the camera lens, touched the film I now hold in my hand.

I went onto study photography at university, with a passion for black & white documentary photography.

Adelaide Zoo 1989

Professionally I would capture images on colour transparency (slide) film that required TLC. The image below for the Sydney Morning Herald was made in Vietnam. To prevent damaging the film from airport x-ray machines I needed to convince security to inspect it by hand.

Hoi An, Vietnam, Sydney Morning Herald

Do I miss photographing on film, spending hours in the darkroom? It was easier to make a living when film was king. We worked magic with our little black box, confident that we captured the photo for the client in a latent image, to be revealed hours or days later. Digital means you know immediately if you have the image. But no I do not miss film, digital offers too many benefits to ignore.

People believe film has an organic quality, where digital can be clinical. In my experience, it depends on the photographer: how they make and process the images.

Since moving to digital I have used film professionally, for special projects when warranted. To promote a client’s winter appeal, I suggested a traditional documentary style, using black and white film.

Black And White Film Documentary

Working discreetly with a drop-in centre we approached clients and staff explaining the use of their images and asked permission.

Compared to film, digital captures higher quality images, more discreetly, with less friction. The image below for the same client was captured digitally.

Black And White Digital Documentary

Whether images are made on film or digital, I continue to print family images and make photo albums, because they will be accessible for generations to come. As long as there is light.

Photo Album