Why Film

As soon as I found out I was having a kid I was excited about documenting her life. I bought a new Sigma Art 35mm lens, it was so sharp, opened up to 1.4f and had just the right amount of bokeh to frame a subject without it looking like a cheap wedding photograph. 

I’ve started lots of photography projects over the years; I get all hyped on an idea, mood-board the shit out of it, shoot some images then lose interest in a few weeks. So the introduction of a subject who didn't want to trade me in for a cooler Dad and would always be around for me to shoot without a deadline, was pretty perfect. 

(To be clear, I was also excited about having a child for the sake of…having a child!)

The day she was due to be born I brought my hulking great DSLR with me to the hospital feeling like a REAL photographer. I was going to graphically depict the true nature of child birth. Maybe even make a Zine. My partner would love that. 

Then labour started. The camera wisely stayed in the bag until she arrived, safe and well at 17.52 that evening. 

For the next few weeks I took too many pictures to count. But every time I looked at them on my laptop they felt soulless. How could something so tiny and perfect be reduced to megapixels? I was looking at a computer interpretation of my daughter and it just didn’t sit right with me. The images LOOKED like her but didn’t even begin to capture what I felt in that moment. 

Shooting film had somehow always seemed unattainable; something other photographers did. It seemed complicated, labour-intensive and expensive. But you couldn’t argue with the results. I’d looked at countless photos and wondered how they had achieved that colour grading, tone or depth and always found the answer to be that it was shot on film. 

I realised that if I wanted my photos to start exuding the qualities I so desperately wanted them to, I was going to have to stop being a bone-idle prick and get myself a film camera. 

Written by Onlock Apparel
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