A Neat Look at NYC’s Vibrant Analog Photography Community

CNN made this creative video highlighting the fact that there’s still a remnant vibrant community of film shooters in New York City. It’s seen from the perspective of someone typing in “analog photography” into a futuristic Qwiki-esque search engine.

Here’s the Qwiki on analog photography:

  • Model Republic Canada

    Film rocks. Nuff said.

  • Dave

    I shot film for 25 years. I lived in darkrooms. I built my own darkroom. I processed everything from black and white prints to E-6 to Cibachrome. I have shot 35, medium format and large format cameras. This video insinuate film can do things digital cannot but the only thing film can do that digital cannot is allow you to watch the process of development. “The quality that you can get from a 35mm negative is on par with what you can get with the most expensive digital cameras” WRONG. In side by side test at great magnification, digital surpassed film somewhere between the 8mp and 10mp level (using identical lenses). Anyone want to buy 50+ rolls of Velvia and Provia lll cheap? Film is dead.

  • Darren Carlin

    Relax Dave. I understand people who grew up with film much prefer digital now but that doesn’t mean other people feel the same. Its ok to love it and its ok to hate it. Whether your using a box brownie or a $50k digital hasselblad. At the end of the day its all about photography and making photographs! 

    I take those roll’s of you for $20 though! 

  • parleton

    Dave: can you please back up evidence with links because i felt it sound like your anecdotal account  

    well at least i got Ken rockwell:

  • Steve Rees

    I’m sure a high quality drum scan from a 35mm negative is as good a a top end DSLR.  The problem is, drum scans are expensive.  Most of us just use consumer film scanners that don’t get the full quality.  You can use an enlarger to make prints but I didn’t really enjoy days in the darkroom.  The thrill of seeing the print appear wares off when you realise that it’s to dark and has to be done again.  Color printing was really difficult.  I keep trying to go back and use the films I have stored in my fridge but I just can’t do it.  Digital is much more fun for me, less expensive and there’s less errors.

  • Pete

    I started photography on film and continue to photograph on film. I’ve had plenty of chances to get a DSLR but I haven’t and probably won’t. The only digital camera I own is a Canon S95 (a point-n-shoot) that I usually am not personally shooting anyways when it’s out. I enjoy film. I like the process. I like the relationship I have with my C-41 and E-6 developers. I love the relationship I have with my black and white printer (myself). I love developing. I love enlarging. I love that my fifty year old camera works better than my neighbors six month old camera. I love negatives and slides. I easily know a hundred people in my area that are the same. Film is not dead.

  • Michael

    FIND=Film is Not Dead!

  • Erik Lauri Kulo

    Film is far from dead. It is very much alive and it is spreading quickly. I started photographing film a year ago after a friend of mine showed me the benefits. Now I can’t stop and I have barely touched my digital camera even though it’s a top end one. The quality you get from film doesn’t surpass digital in the sense of correct color (sometimes though it does), sharpness and low amount of grain/noise on an everyday level. But what does surpass digital is the structure of the grain, the dynamic range (which is just incredible) and the process.

    As I shoot black and white on film I’d like to say that I would never, never replace black and white film with digital. Digital doesn’t even come near when it comes to the “umpf” you get out of the black and white on film. And it’s much easier to express yourself since the process of getting the image has so many steps.

    And after I began shooting film, people around me has started as well. So it’s a disease spreading fast.

  • Gordon Lafleur

    I’ve been making photographs since the sixties, and have made a living as a photographer since 1971. I had a full colour lab in my studio for more than twenty years, and was dragged into digital kicking and screaming.
    The learning curve was long and painful. Hours in front of a computer every day for a year before I even began to “make it go”.
    Would I go back? Only for fun. I love the old cameras. For only the second time since 2003 I put a roll of film through a film camera last week. (as Zorki 4 bought at a thrift store) Still have not seen the result, but it was fun. I also shot photos at the same time with my Fuji x100. I have absolutely no expectation that the Zorki photos, or photos from any 35mm camera would hold up against the Fuji.
    Digital is the re-invention of photography. In sheer quality, resolution, colour accuracy,..any parameter you care to compare, digital blows the doors off of film.
    Film is not dead, but is certainly semi-retired. Hey, my wife buys raw fleeces, washes, cards, spins and knits things. It probably costs her at least $100, and 100 woman hours to make a sweater. I can go buy a really nice sweater at a store for $50 bucks.

  • Michael

    I totally know what you mean Erik, I started off with digital then began shooting only film it’s so much fun and addicting (especially when the prices of film cameras are so much more vulnerable then before)!  I can’t speak for 20+ years of film photographers who went digital swearing film is dead but I can see the new trend of young novices like me who started with digital getting into films and using digital for post processing creating likes of fine art photography.  For many professionals I understand digital makes more sense in terms of speed and making money but for art or enthusiasm I definitely believe film will never die, unless film is no longer in production.  Eventually digital will surpass any type of film in terms of giving us wider range of more organic feel for film like post processing and more affordable equipment like Fuji X100 to Leica M9 combining the feel of shooting film to digital.

  • Mr.New

    If a moment could be captured on film and digital at the same time, could the same instance be “better” on one medium or the other ?

    Similarly, whether a newspaper’s type was set on a letterpress, linotype machine or on a computer, isn’t the end product about telling the same story—or maybe, you get a more “sloppy” story if it was typeset using a computer.

    I really don’t know why some photographers say film is better / digital is better. 

  • Dave

    It’s easy. How successful would an image of Yosemites “Half Dome” be if it were shot on a five year old cell phone camera compared to one of Ansel Adams 8X10 large format shots? Even if Ansel himself wielded the cell phone cam it would be a stretch to think you could get the same point across. Digital is simple higher quality on all levels. Your typesetting analogy was flawed in that the written word is rarely, if ever, admired for the quality of the type itself, but usually only appreciated for the content. Photography is both. This article suggested that film is somehow equal or better than digital when in fact it is not. Yes, film can still be practiced as a lark, an art form, a curiosity, a preference, but for end results you will want to shoot digital. For quality. If you want to make very large format prints for a gallery, digital will give much better results. You can even dumb it down to LOOK like film if you were so inclined. For publishing just try to get a film image published when there is a comparable high end digital shot available as well. Good luck. Of all the film aficionados that have posted, and I suspect most of them are relatively new to photography (because they have no memory as to how bad film was), none of them have suggested any compelling reason why film is as good or better a medium. Yes, I know it is a different medium and all of it is photography (writing with light). I am sure all the new film shooters out there have jacked up their hipster cred quite a few points by coming across as deeper and more artistic because they shoot film. At least it is good for something. But quality wise film is dead.

  • Joecoleman87

    Yes, I would be interested. Please contact me via email


  • Evad

    As much as I’d like to disagree with Dave, I really do, I DO agree that film is quite dead. Digital is much more versatile, and quicker, as well as providing instant gratification for many. What film photographers practice skill-wise is applicable to digital as well composition, shutter-speeds and whatnot. 

    Yup film IS dead. BUT it’s dead like the Latin language. Yes, both are old and impractical, not to mention pretentious (it’s users can be too).But like Latin language, film photography, whilst not at all better than digital photography (You’ve made it quite clear that digital can do the same and more), is still QUITE fun to utilize and see. The difficult, frustrating, and time consuming nature of it is a part of that. That being said, I agree using film does not make one’s photo “deeper and more artistic”. Just because film is more tedious to use does not uphold the user to a status above digital photographer.  A photo taken on a film camera is exactly what it is: a photo and nothing more. I have to disagree that most film camera users here are hipsters it is a generalization to ASSume that we all think that way, film is a medium and that’s that. 

  • Dave

    IDALTA=It died a long time ago

  • Tom Lavine

    Are you the Gordon Lafleur who used to work at McLean Bros. in Montreal??