Images in the Backcountry

Are Film Photographers a Dying Breed?

Recently I had a conversation with a photographer who does it as a hobby.  She mentioned that she still shoots film photography to this day.  This brought up a question for me: are film photographers a dying breed?  When I started thinking about this I couldn't help but wonder why I stopped shooting film.  I started in film photography and absolutely loved it (You can view and purchase some of my film prints here).  To this day I have great memories of being in the darkroom, listening to some music and watching something I created in the camera come to life on paper.  For a person who has never experienced this and has shot digital from the start I feel that this is a huge loss.  Not only do you get to see what you shoot come to life on paper but there are other advantages of shooting film.  The obvious advantage with digital is that you can make a mistake and it doesn't cost you a roll of film so you can shoot thousands of pictures without a care in the world.  But for me, working with film taught me how to be patient and wait for that right moment to click the shutter.  I also feel that film taught me how to expose a photo correctly and how to bracket (bracketing is where you take three photos: one where it should be and one overexposed and one underexposed) to get the perfectly exposed photo. Don't get me wrong here: I love digital photography and, trust me, I do tend to let the things I learned with film slip. Though why is it that with the love I had for film I never shoot film anymore?  Is it time, money, both or something completely different?  Trust me when I say that I do not have the answer to this question. I do, however, have a few ideas about why I think film photographers are a 'dying breed'.  
   First off, I think the main reason is that for photographers who are doing this as a business (like myself) film photography is just not cost effective.  If I were to shoot a wedding with film I would spend hundreds of dollars on film, then I would have to get those rolls of film developed and then printed. It is easy to see how after hundreds if not thousands of photos this could be very expense with film.  With digital photography this is not the case--you can take about a thousand photos on one thirty-two giga byte card for the cost of that card.  Another reason I think a lot of photographers don't shoot film anymore is technology.  I believe that with the advances of technology digital photography keeps getting better and better.  For a lot of film photographers their biggest complaint was that you just can't get the same quality photo that you can get with a digital camera.  Even one of the top film cameras--the Hasselbad--has gone digital with the H5D-50 (here).  I mean sure, that camera is a whopping $44,000- way out of the price range of a lot of photographers, but it is a beast of a camera and in my opinion, just as good if not better then a lot of film cameras. So all this brings me back to my original question: are film photographers a dying breed? 

   I believe to find photographers that used to shoot film or still do to this day is very rare.  But I also feel that the ones who do still shoot film do it because of their love for film and nothing else.  For these photographers not shooting film would be like taking away their one true love.  So with that in mind I don't feel that film will ever completely go away.  What do you think?  Do you think that film photography will one day be a thing of the past? Let me know in the comment section below.
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