There are many things that we creatures cherish. One of them is often old albums full of photographs printed from film. In fact I even have my first self-developed photogram, pinhole picture and my very first roll of developed film.
But we no longer take our single use cameras on holiday. Amidst the digital revolution we have changed to compact cameras or digital SLRs and placed the film camera in the loft with those photo albums. And in the same way that the online revolution is damaging the newspaper industry, the digital surge is ruining the film industry.
The proof is in today’s announcement by Kodak of the retirement of their Kodachrome film. Demand for it has dwindled and the company now generates “70% of its revenue from commercial and consumer digital business”. One of the last films will be used by Steve McCurry, who has taken some of the most iconic images using Kodak film, but even he admits that he has since moved on to other films and digital.
I’m not going to deny that the digital camera has opened up a whole new world of photography, I simply hope that this is not the start of the demise of the film camera. You can’t replace the beauty of watching your picture faintly emerge from a floating white sheet of paper. Processing a film to perfection is all part of the pride in photography. Watching an image shoot out of the bottom of a machine in three seconds does not amaze me. Some pictures need the personal touch. So this summer I’m blowing the dust of my Diana and Minolta and remembering why I fell in love with photography.