Analog photography is experiencing the second spring! Many photographers are rediscovering analog photography, which is currently triggering a real trend. What is the appeal of analog photography? The first roll films were produced industrially in 1888. Today, around 128 years later, we are already in the middle of the digital age with far more options. Nevertheless, the old technology has advantages, which will convince you.
Analog photography – 128 years back
We go back to 1888 when the first roll films for analog photography were first produced industrially. I’m the absolute history freak, so I’m particularly happy to write about this topic. So that you can empathize with the right time, here is the first photo from 1888. This picture was most likely taken with a “Kodak 1”. At $ 25 at that time, not exactly affordable for everyone, but at least cheaper than the previously used folding and bellows cameras.
From today’s perspective, this camera was very primitive—no trace of exposure metering or integrated flash. Nevertheless – as the picture shows – you could take very vivid photos with an analog camera and hand flashes—Chapeau to the unknown photographer.
Development of analog photography up to the 1930s
Development progressed slowly over the next 50 years. After all, it was soon possible to change the film in daylight, thanks to the film’s encapsulation. However, some things have proven themselves. So 35mm films are still used in analog photography today. A big leap in technology was made in the 1930s. For the first time, Kodak succeeded in building an analog camera with integrated exposure metering, flash synchronization, and aperture control. We owe the fact that we have many good pictures from the following war years to the insatiable inventive spirit of that time. Of course, we have an article with a complete history of photography written and researched for you. You will be interested in this – very exciting to read!
The allure of analog photography today
If you are nostalgic, there is no need to argue why you take pictures in analog. Because of those who love and appreciate the old find satisfaction in analog photography. We live in a fast-moving digital world. Our age’s negative side effect is probably the less careful handling of our belongings and, of course, the environment. Everything can be replaced quickly. Everyone always needs the latest gadgets and technology. If it doesn’t work, something else will be bought. There are quite a few parallels to this in digital photography. A photographer is a today not forced with digital photography, to think a picture composition and the best view in advance exactly.
This graphic illustrates the trend based on the number of images uploaded on social media. Today everything is photographed – mostly quickly and without thinking. According to the article from statista.com, 1.8 billion images were uploaded per day in 2014.
Such a development would never have been possible in analog photography. In analog photography, you only have a certain number of attempts before the film is full. So it has to work! And that is exactly the appeal of analog photography. Not wasteful, but thoughtful. If you take photographs in analog form, you have to deal with the motif and lighting conditions in detail right from the start. Watch closely and assess. There are no test shots. You only know after developing or looking at the negative whether the analog image has worked. This is exactly where the calm lies—photographing analog means “decelerating” – giving yourself time.
Apart from that, analog pictures have a certain charm. Pictures with a “retro look” are just as popular as appropriate clothing or furniture. This is also proven by the many photography apps on the smartphone, in which the analog filters are very popular. There is also the trend of Lomography, which is becoming increasingly popular. Here we have an article for you on Lomography.
A cozy slide evening
Many of you may remember it. The slide shows at school or home when the grandfather proudly presents the pictures of his grandchildren. The familiar “click” when changing pictures and the pitch-dark room always created a cozy atmosphere. Analog photography, therefore, not only slows down when taking photos but also when presenting the images. The horror of a 3-hour digital holiday picture presentation of the brother of the big cousin was unknown.
Photograph analog or digital?
The list of advantages and disadvantages of analog versus digital photography is almost endless. These two recording techniques are also difficult to compare because they differ greatly in terms of technology and are mostly used for different purposes. We have briefly summarized the most important points here:
The advantages of analog photography
An analog camera can today be bought cheaply on the second-hand market. In Germany, 80% of households still have an analog camera, which is why the market will not dry out quickly.
- Black and white photography fits analog photography like a fist on the eye. A black and white image from an analog camera looks authentic, and often more real and artistic than from the digicam. Learn how to get more expression into a picture in our tutorial on black and white photography.
- The seeker. In contrast to many modern digital cameras, analog cameras have the advantage that they always have a viewfinder. An analog photographer does not know annoying reflective displays in strong sun.
- Learning the basics of photography again – an important advantage of analog photography. The lack of technology supports you in learning to assess situations better. You will quickly get a feel for the right camera settings like the aperture because, in analog photography, you simply need it. A big advantage, even if you later take digital photos again.
- Artistically, analog photography offers a lot of freedom. The chance of being copied is rather slim, whereas this is quickly possible with a digital image with Photoshop.
- The slowing down in analog photography leaves more room for creativity. With a digital camera, the finger is usually constantly on the trigger. You don’t want to miss the perfect moment, and you’re always ready. Here is a snapshot: there is a lucky shot. In the stress of the fast pictures, you quickly lose sight of the detail. But photography lives from special and unique moments. With the deliberateness that is imposed on you in analog photography, you can capture exactly this.
- Analog cameras are often compact and light, which is why they are also well suited as travel cameras.
The disadvantages of analog photography
- Technically, analog photography is subject to digital. Many little technical helpers have to be dispensed with. The risk that a picture will not be good (which must be good) is higher.
- Too insecure in contract photography. Only very experienced photographers of analog photographers dare to photograph orders analogously. Quick feedback is simply missing. A quick look at the picture is not possible. This also means that the customer has no way of constantly expressing his wishes. Photographing a wedding with an analog camera is also tricky. What if there is always too little exposure, and all the pictures are too dark? You will only notice it during development. There is also (albeit a small) risk that the film will be damaged in the mail or the laboratory. However, many famous photographers take analog photographs.
- The film has to be sent in, which is why a lot of time always passes before you can finally see your pictures. The development of the photos in the laboratory costs in any case, even if the picture was not successful.
Photograph digitally, but think analogously
It’s no secret how to combine the advantages of technology in digital photography with analog photography. Many customer requests and work processes rely on the efficiency and digital processes. You don’t have to do without the SLR or system camera (you can find the advantages and disadvantages here). Nevertheless, the mindset of analog photography can be transferred to digital. Working more carefully and taking your time will positively affect your well-being to guarantee that it will also affect the pictures.