Why I Shoot Film (Even Though You Didn’t Ask)

Why I Shoot Film (Even Though You Didn’t Ask)

1491 839 Craig Sinclair

I bought a typewriter not long ago. If you look at Craigslist on a regular basis you’ll probably find one for cheap. When you find out the ink ribbon is old and dry you’ll discover that you can still buy replacement ribbons on the internet. And then you’ll debate whether or not you should buy the split red-and-black ribbon or go for the all black one, reasoning that you can flip it and get some extra life out of it, not that I’ve ever worn out a typewriter ribbon in my life. And when was the last time you needed to type in red anyway? 

I also recently bought a 1997 Mazda Miata. I know the stereotypes and, no, I’m not a hairdresser. I’ve owned two of these little cars in recent years. It was less than a week after selling the first one that I started shopping for the second. I felt incomplete without one. 

Both of these purchases are examples of my desire to live in an analogue world. The typewriter is obvious, with linkages and interactions that manifest in tactile objects (type-covered pages) that you can share or hoard. The way the keys unevenly pound against paper, leaving ink artifacts that form words and, sometimes, ideas, is soothing. 

My typewriter lives on my kitchen table. An ideological remnant of the late 20th Century about “dining” and a pessimism about how many people I might cook for on any given night leaves me with more table than I need most of the time, so the Smith Corona Classic doesn’t often get in the way. I’ve taught my twelve-year-old daughter about the beauty hidden within a haiku. A typewriter is the perfect means by which to express a haiku. Keys are deliberately pushed and the audible, mechanical clacks create a precious, unique and real thing that you can hold and reflect upon. My kid expressed her feelings about the school hot lunch program via a typewritten haiku –

Luke warm mac and cheese

is the scourge of the hot lunch

I’d rather eat dirt

That made me smile. Since when does a twelve-year-old know the word “scourge?”

What I like about the Miata is the way that it proves that there was a brief but precious and perfectly balanced moment in the mid-to-late 1990s automotive world. Technology was good, cars were reliable and handled well, and engineers had figured out suspension, and engines and clutches lasted a stupid-long amount of time. Equally important, gimmicks hadn’t yet taken over.

Not long after this sweet period of balance, dashboards became digital, computers made physical mechanisms outmoded, and parts of every car were more often connected by wires and micro chips and less by cables and levers. Modern cars have gone totally computer-age with dashboards dominated by touchscreens that will look as foolish as a Palm Treo cell phone in five years. (For younger readers, Palm was a dominant cell phone manufacturer in the early-to-mid 2000s. They were even bigger than BlackBerry for a while. Remember BlackBerry?)

When I bought it, my Miata produced a grating mechanical buzz from a small box under the dash every time I didn’t put my seatbelt on fast enough, or when I opened the door with my keys still in the ignition. It was monumentally annoying, but I could fish around under the dash while it was buzzing and identify the noise making box by feel and unplug the wires leading to it. One can do this type of simple modification when machines are built out of bits and pieces, and not software.

My 1997 Miata parked on the longest beach in the world, aptly named Long Beach in Washington.

Which brings us to photography, finally, this being a site about photography. 

I had a Canon S100 digital point-and-shoot camera. One day the lens extended and never retracted again and a “lens error” notification appeared on the rear LCD screen. This had happened once before when the camera was relatively new. An email sent to Canon and a couple of tracking numbers later, I had a Canon S100 repaired under warranty. But this was the  second occurrence of the same defect, and it occurred long after the S100 had passed puberty and become a full blown geriatric camera in the world of digital photography.

“Dear Canon, my S100 needs to be fixed again.”

“Dear Canon S100 owner, Ha ha ha ha!!!! You’re a loser for owning something so old.”

I’m paraphrasing. I bought the camera in 2012, it became a broken and obsolete lump of technology in 2018. 

With nothing to lose, I dusted off my tiny screwdriver set, adjusted the desk lamp on my workspace, and loaded a web page titled, “How to fix your Canon S100 yourself, you cheap bastard.” 

Remove tiny screws. 

Remove more tiny screws.

Gently pry.

Flip cable thingie, gently prod cable out of thingie.

Remove more tiny screws.


Install new replacement LENS MODULE.

What? I was hoping I’d stumbled upon a “repair it yourself” hack to fix a common problem. Apparently the hack was a “replace the entire piece” guide. This was not helpful. This was garbage. And now, too, was the S100.

Another thing that I own is a hard drive that has stopped working. I’m usually pretty good about double and triple redundancy when it comes to digital files and back-ups, but this one hard drive escaped my efforts for some reason, and how poetic is it that the one uncopied drive is the one that failed? On this drive are videos of my kid during the first year or two of her life, digitally recorded at a time when video cameras used rewritable DVDs which you would copy onto your computer’s (apparently) fragile data storage device. I keep meaning to take this drive to a tech guy to see if the files can be retrieved but it hasn’t happened yet, and I suspect the chances for recovery are slim to nil, and getting smaller every day.

In contrast, I have taken apart an old Pentax Spotmatic SLR to adjust a sticky shutter with success. I once got an Olympus film camera off of eBay only to find it rattling upon receiving it, the cause being a loose screw inside the viewfinder. I took the Olympus apart, returned the screw to its proper spot, and reassembled it into a working camera. I once took apart a 20mm Nikkor lens and cleaned the sticky aperture blades to get it functioning again.

I like things I can take apart, understand how they work, or why they don’t, and put them back together. I can do this with the Maita as well. Armed with a screwdriver and a couple of wrenches I removed and replaced a speedometer cable; a serpent like cable within a housing with little gear drives at each end that connected a gear in the transmission to a wheel in the speedometer. And I even fixed a friend’s typewriter when a small armature had become disconnected deep inside the mechanism. With a bread knife and some squinting I managed to reconnect the linkage so that the ribbon would dutifully jump between the type slug and paper when a key was pushed.

Nothing is permanent, but there is something comforting about the tangible and the mechanical. And this is why I shoot film. 

An afternoon with a back pack, a water bottle, and a rare time when trail mix was consumed on a trail. Made with a roll of TMAX 100 and a fifty-year-old camera. Red Rock Canyon, Nevada.

Film cameras, the older ones anyway, are little mechanical devices that can be dissected and understood. There is a fascinating series of photographs by Todd McLellan where he takes things apart and photographs them. Amongst the photographs of a flip clock, and old rotary phone, is an image of a Pentax Spotmatic dissembled to the tiniest screw. Even reduced to parts, it’s a conceivable object, a real thing. There are no magic pixies in amongst the micro screws, fine springs, bevels, washers and pins. 

And when assembled, what that machine does is produce a tangible image, a negative that you can hold and examine. It makes a photograph without the aid of ones and zeros. The negative, stored properly, might last forever. Stored improperly, as evidenced by my treatment of the negatives I took some thirty years ago, they may also last forever while the ones and zeros of my kid figuring out how to be a human being on a defective hard drive are lost forever after just five or six years. 

I know a lot of people will talk about the soulfulness of the colours of film, the comfort found in the grain structure of film prints, how there is a purposefulness to taking a photograph on film because, unlike digital, film has a cost and a commitment associated with every click, and it’s slow, and it requires more thoughtfulness in the creation of a photograph when using film. Yeah, I can buy some of that as well, but I shoot film because it’s real. The machine that takes the photograph is real. The film is real. Maybe the scans are still ones and zeros, but there’s still a PrintFile sleeve with negatives in it that can be viewed using nothing but a light source. 

I have no problem with Instagram, and I’ve consumed countless Podcasts, written a billion texts and emails, I have multiple copies of hard drives filled with RAW photo files that I may never look at again, there is music on my phone, and all this stuff is fleeting, electronic evanescence. It’s incredible how I can look at Instagram every day and see amazing, beautiful photographs, but it’s never the same photograph, and each one fades into the ether after viewing, and if it was that good why can’t I remember any of them? And why is it so hard to find them once the algorithm decides they don’t need to be seen anymore? Instead, Instagram becomes less about actual photographs and more about a type of photograph, an idea of an idea without specificity or grounding.

And so much of our digital landscape is the same – data conjured out of routers or processed through circuit boards and powered by lithium batteries for just a moment, before being replaced by the next idea about something else that we’ll forget just as quickly. 

But film is real. The process is real. The machine that takes the photograph is real. The stack of negatives taking up space in a drawer in my bedroom is real. And that’s why I shoot film. 

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Craig Sinclair

Craig Sinclair was born in Ontario and is a University of Toronto School of Architecture graduate living in Vancouver for the second time. His photography explores the underlying narratives existing in found contexts. There is beauty in the ordinary, a concept he explores by taking a photograph every day; an exercise he began in 2007 and continues to this day.

All stories by:Craig Sinclair
  • You’ve pretty much nailed my reasoning for shooting film as well. My kids are absolutely flabbergasted that I dare to take things apart and fix them; the concept of getting one’s hands dirty is new to them. I’m a welder by trade; give me some flat metal, a drawing, and a handful of tools, and I can make the parts myself. A good welder doesn’t even need to grind down his welds; they are works of art worthy of display. People who need to grind their welds are not welders, they are grinders. If you take a digital image on a digital sensor and then edit it for longer than it took to make the image, are you really a photographer? Or are you an editor of images?

  • Steve Mitchell May 29, 2019 at 5:14 am

    Yup….modern cars are like modern cameras, they will not easily be restored to working order in the future once the electronics are gone. My late father’s photos are still a source of pleasure to the family, and perhaps in the case of the ones taken during the Korean war, an important historical document. On the other hand, like you, I have fifteen years of digital images that even if I continue to protect them with regular backups, when I am gone it is unlikely that my grandchildren will be poring through the contents of a long obsolete hard drive. The historical record will be lost…..

    • Craig Sinclair May 29, 2019 at 8:34 pm

      I’ve been making some effort to print out some reasonable number of my digital photographs and I’ve even gone as far as to put these physical prints into a shoe box just like the old days… I find this comforting since I know it’s unlikely the digital versions will last long after my curation of them ceases and at least my kid will have the physical copies.

      • Craig, It depends on how far in the future from now as to how relevant paper anything will be. Much of my life has centered around paper including my career (which is ended now). But I don’t see the future being much like that. My wife ten years ago switched to books via sound. Much of my news is now either via iPad or TV steaming. I am now organizing my events / trips into photos and video clips and showing them on an OLED big screen via Apple Photos, Lightroom, or Google Photos.

        My guess is that in the future photos and video will be screen based.

  • Yes, sir, you nailed it. I’ve dabbled in music over the years, built myself a home studio. As time went on I added more plug-ins to my computer, spent hours and hours tweaking midi notes here and there, polishing audio waves. In short, I spent more time in front of the computer than making bloody music! So, I bought an 8-track Studer/Revox reel-to-reel recorder using 1/4inch analogue tape – expensive to run but this helped cut through the noodling, and what a sound! That is when I finally became productive. Likewise, I ditched my ugly, menu-maddening, million-RAW-images-per-session DSLR and went to 35mm and 120mm. One to two rolls of film per session and a physical image by way of the resulting negative (or my beloved slide) – THAT is photography. The moment they stop making film, is the moment I quit photography. Analogue, be it photography, recording music or listening to records, is the way out of this awful, modern digital vortex. Great article, one which needs to be shared to digital photography forums and Facebook groups.

  • Hello Craig,

    I just wanted to say that was an excellent article and very well written. It resonates with a lot of us who enjoy the tactile and real sensation of the analogue world.

  • A great piece. Thank you for capturing things so succinctly..

  • Great article! This hits home.

  • A wonderful, eloquent piece. The word “real” is the heart of it. My girlfriend said to me the other day “how come you don’t take pictures of me any more?” That stopped me in my tracks: I have the pretty, high-spec, can-do mirrorless and a couple of top-flight lenses and all the things that makes the ecosystem work. And yet …
    Meanwhile my beloved FM2, which has travelled the world with me, swum in a river in Africa, fallen off a train and a motorbike (and still come up firing) hardly sees the light of day any more.
    After a couple days, I said to my girl: it’s because that moment of pleasure of setting up a picture and hearing that shutter fire has gone. There’s no joy in shooting away on the Fuji.
    Photography has been demeaned by spray-and-pray and the hours spent “processing” in front of a computer, which is no different to what I do every day at work. In fact, it feels like work, which film photography — when you’re doing it right — just doesn’t.
    And, yeah, I love typewriters too, and I make podcasts on a Marantz cassette tape recorder. Maybe I just enjoy swimming against the tide.

  • Utterly wonderful article, It was almost “moving”! Unfortunately with film the bit of fairy dust resides in film itself: should they ever stopped making it, it won’t be easy to find an alternative…fingers crossed

  • Beautifully written and an equally beautiful landscape image. This article totally resonates with me. Digital photography just isn’t FUN anymore, even though I have an expensive full frame camera and razor sharp Zeiss lenses. Film photography has brought back the love again. No more burst mode, no more auto bracket just to be safe, no more folders with thousands of super sharp but meaningless raw files.

  • Just yesterday I was in Balboa Park with my 39 year old Olympus OM2n and a roll of Tmax 100 thinking how marvelously simple that system of capturing images is. And it works well too. And last night for the second day in a row I was playing vinyl records I have had for at least 40 years and sound perfect. As good as film photography is I take more digital photos today than film ones. And I listen to more digital music than analog. Why, I have added good new developments in technology with what I already like and have.

    For me the weakness in film photography is two fold. 1. I have had a great deal of problems getting film developed reliably. And I have no plans to learn to develop film myself. I learned the hard way I am allergic to photographic chemicals. 2. I have finally been able to reliably combine still photographs and video clips into hybrid “slideshows” on my large OLED screen that would be almost impossible to duplicate with film. The weakness in vinyl is simple, convenience. I don’t like having to get up every 30 minutes and flip or change the record.

    Without a doubt some of the rush towards a faux future in photography has many issues. Just last week I bought a new phone/camera out of curiosity over all the pronouncements of wonderfulness this new model got in the youtube world. I had it for one day and returned it. The new camera and it’s auto file stacking did provide a remarkable image in many instances. However, it was impossible for me to easily get those files off the device and edit them on a bigger screen. Something I have had no problem doing with a similar device, my iPhone XS Max.

    I am the photo collector for my family. I have many very good shots of my ancestors going back to the 1800’s, and a large number of 100 year old photos. In addition, right next to my fairly large collection of vinyl records I have about 75 records from the 1920s from my grandparents that work just fine. Do I think my digital music will be around in 75 years, most likely no. And unless I print my digital photo files they may not survive either. But if the next generation after me wants to keep my images, videos, and music I am working to make sure I keep the most durable storage system I can.

    I also had a disk drive fail three years ago for a large part of my images. Fortunately I had saved copies on the Apple cloud and all was well. After that I bought a second disk drive and also kept my photos up to date on google’s cloud, Flickr, and some on dropbox. Plus this year I have switched to SSD drives which are much more reliable, so far. Google has been quite reliable for storing photos and video long term. I have lots of stored files on their photos app from 1999 and 2000.

    In a thousand years I would never go back to a typewriter from using my computers to write. I spelling is terrible and word processing with spell check is something I need. But I do still write letters with a fountain pen. I still do have stationary with my name and address printed on the top.

    I recently re-bought a slide projector. A few years back both of mine went the way of eBay. My memory conjured up glorious visions from the old days when I used to project slides after family vacations. I just had to get back to doing things the old way. What a disappointment. I paid about 8 times the price I sold my slide projectors for and got a very nice Kodak with zoom lens and a screen. It works fine but is much much lower quality than what I get showing digital files through my MacBook Pro on my large screen OLED TV. And on the TV I can combine video clips.

    Some things get better and some don’t.

    • Craig Sinclair May 29, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      You make many good points, and I won’t disagree with you in that a lot of things are definitely better today. I have digital cameras. I have a flat screen television. I wrote this article on a computer.

      But I have a small collection of fountain pens and I write letters to friends and I know they cherish these physical objects far more than any email or text I might send them. And I’ve seen what magical and oddly beautiful words show up on a piece of paper when you leave a typewriter out at a party, words that wouldn’t have been shared had I left my MacBook Air open on the kitchen table with Word launched on its screen.

      I agree with you when you say, “Some things get better and some don’t” and would add, sometimes better isn’t better.

      Thanks for your well thought out comment.

      • Foutain pain you touch my heart. I am a Sheaffer lover. Like you I like to use them. Digital photography is like poetry. The touch of inversible film is marvelous. I would like to test the great new Ektachrome 100. I will make different tests, some with a safe camera like a 28 TI Nikon and some more flexible with a M3 with great well known lenses such Leica lenses, Zeiss or Voigtlander or very good LTM, I will not take risk to use a 7 artisans Leica external design copy.

  • leicalibrararian May 29, 2019 at 11:44 am

    I recently acquired a Leica R4-MOT free with a 500mm MR-Telyt-R lens, as it did not seem to be working. An hour with screwdrivers cleaning the battery compartment, mode switch and EV compensation contacts and it all sprang to life with a new set of 1/3 DN batteries. Someone had in effect thrown away a lovely camera, which from the absence of wear, had hardly ever been used, all for sake of a small amount of effort and a can of switch cleaner fluid.


  • Merlin Marquardt May 29, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Beautiful article.

  • matthew k mcdaniel May 29, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    As someone who shoots film, does my paperwork either in fountain pen or typewriter (I have 34 and let the students use them), and bought a new Subaru because it was the closest to an old-school car I could buy, I agree with every word. I shoot digital when I 2nd shoot for my wife, as it’s the easiest and safest way to shoot a large number of photographs; however, ultimately progress for the sake of progress is not a good thing.

  • Probably Definitely May 30, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Good read! Nobody needs all that tech in their cars or cameras. I though actually prefer it in my cameras, definitely not cars. Analog cars are best.

  • Oh wow.. you’ve perfectly put words on something I was chasing . Thanks for that .
    You’re not alone living in an analog world. Thanksfully !

  • Thank you, Craig! Eloquently and succinctly states a position which I totally share.
    About 2 years ago, I thought I might see what the digital fuss was about, and purchased a Sony a7 because I believed what I read about my M-mount lenses working on it. Well, yes, they fit with an adapter, but the results were pretty poor. That led to lens purchases, etc. etc. and I eventually found the Sony to be a remarkably powerful and versatile tool. The EVF allowed me to see EXACTLY what my image would look like in B&W (oops, “greyscale”). I was totally seduced. My film cameras languished.
    The problem was that I soon felt no real connection, physically, to what I was doing. The camera itself is a lump of disposable, poorly crafted nothing, providing none of the tactile pleasure of my old film cameras. I sit at a screen at work all day, so I dreaded working on my files or even opening them up to review them, a key part of the learning and growing process for my work. I began to drift back to the slow, awkward, expensive process of shooting film again. I missed the alchemical mystery of light and silver. I missed the mystery and excitement of getting something other than what I thought I was shooting, those weird “gifts” that shooting film sometimes provides. I missed the satisfying feeling of my M3 transporting, smoothly and elegantly, the real stuff as I worked the advance. Fifty years of muscle memory wanted my film cameras back.
    These days, I’m back to my Leicas and my Nikon S2’s. There are a number of images I made during my time on the Dark Side that I do feel are worth preserving and sharing AS PRINTS. They’ll be printed archivally and stored carefully. The files will then be discarded. The digital equipment will be sold.
    Will I miss certain aspects of digital? Yes, shooting at an astronomically high ISO, hand held, is nice. The ability to use virtually any lens on the Sony platform is too. But sometimes, having narrower parameters actually increase my ability to create a truer image, something more directly from the heart. Funny how that works.
    And I like the idea that my images will outlast me, that someone in the future might look at them and feel a spiritual kinship across time with someone he or she never met. Or the images might have a historical significance I can’t anticipate. Or they might just be quaint curiosities. That’s all good; the point is that they’ll have a chance of surviving to do any or all of those things.

  • This is a great article, and with that, I feel compelled to leave a reply. I have been in several debates (some heated) with people over the years as to why I continue to shoot film. Some, for some reason, insist that its all about nostalgia. For me that is the farthest thing from the truth. These days, I find myself shooting slides most of the time. Anyone who insists that their 50MP, full frame SLR takes “better” pictures than anyone ever could on film, has either NEVER seen a projected slide, OR, has forgotten what a properly exposed, projected slide looks like….Here is my best analogy: Viewing a digital picture on a screen, is like watching television. Viewing a projected slide, is like looking out of a window. But, that is just a (very strong) personal opinion. I’ll bring up some actual facts now. You MIGHT be able to debate the resolution of a low ISO 35mm slide Vs. an image taken with high MP, full frame 35mm digital sensor. But you cannot have that same debate between a low ISO medium format slide, and a image taken with high MP, full frame 35mm digital sensor. YES, Mamiya and Pentax (I believe) both make 6×4.5 digital cameras, and Hasselblad is making 6×6 digital backs, but lets be real. The price tags on those cameras (and their AF lenses) make them WAY out of reach for most people. A medium format slide (or negative) will get you a print LIGHTYEARS larger than the best 35mm full frame sensor ever will. I have had 16×20 (poster side) prints made from ISO 50, 6×7 slides.
    While they are (unfortunately) no longer made in an actual dark room, they look (IMHO) perfect….Try that with a 35mm full frame digi image. As others have pointed out, what about the archival / longevity aspect? A little while ago, I was in the basement of my aunts house. In small pile of garbage on the floor. I spied a familiar yellow box at the edge of the pile, and quickly grabbed it… An old box of Kodak slides, which sat in that basement for 42 years, 20 years since the last time a dehumidifier had run down there, ready for the trash. I asked about them, and I was told, “eh, take them home.” So I did. What I found were perfectly preserved pictures of my late cousins 3rd B-day party, taken January of 1970, on what I believe was 126 (or possibly 127) film. These slides were stored in horrible conditions for many years, yet, looked like they were taken yesterday. At the next family gathering, I brought a projector and had a slide show….. People were SHOCKED…. Those were in the BASEMENT??? They look great! Wow, I forgot how good slides look!!! At the end of the slide show, I posed the question to everyone in the room… “Take a moment to think about where your JPEGS will be 49 years from now.” Last, I am going to comment on photography, what it used to mean to learn it, what it seems to have become. Once it was a skill, or a craft, or a art. The idea was to get everything right BEFORE you hit that shutter button. Today, taking the image seems to be secondary to editing the image. Take a bunch of mediocre pictures, and just crop, and straighten, and lighten, and adjust, and sharpen until you’re happy with it…. Yes, there are darkroom tricks that photographers would do to tweak ELEMENTS of the print. Similar things were also done in fashion photography. Tweaks have always been around, but they weren’t done to completely revamp the entire image, every time. Maybe its just me, but I want to make photographs, not play with a computer.

  • Nice article! I think there is a certain need in almost every person, I’m sure there are a few exceptions, to do something tactile. Even the most electronic of us has a secret fascination with an old school tactile piece of machinery that makes us wonder how those old craftsmen designed and built an intricate such an intricate machine. Or we wonder at and are fascinated by some element of nature-such as planting a garden and nurturing the flowers or vegetables from that garden.

    My day gig involves a lot of computer use. And I do like the iPhone I’m writing this on. But I “came of age” in the late 60s-early 70s when film SLRs were just becoming the preferred camera. I don’t know how many rolls of film I’ve exposed. Some exposures I still really like and others should just be trashed. I have digital cameras- including the S90 predecessor to your S100, which I still carry and use. (Good glass is good glass regardless of what medium captures the image). And I still shoot film. In fact, my film camera accumulation has increased. Two things keep me coming back to film: the raw simplicity of film cameras compared to DSLRs, and the fascination with using a device that can mechanically divide a second of time into 1/2000 or 1/4000 increments. Out of eight or so film cameras I’ve accumulated my favorite is an FM2n. The reason is it’s simple and lets me concentrate on the image. The meter is a simple bright red +, o, -. I can focus on what I want to focus on, not the nearest or most active object in view, and when I press the shutter release the FM2n doesn’t ask if I really want to do that. That said, yes, I have digital SLRs that I use regularly.

    As far as film as a medium, there is a “blended” quality to film that I like. Film seems to give us more of what our eyes really see than digital. I’m not a fan of the highly sharpened and ultra vivid images that some DSLRs are capable of. I think it is a real challenge for digital to imitate film. I know I don’t run my DSLRs at their full resolution capabilities, but I like what I get.

    As to longevity, properly stored quality film and prints can last a century or more. My wife’s mother went on a European trip in the mid 1950s. She bought a quality 35mm folder for the trip and shot Kodachrome slides. Luckily, and by happenstance, she stored the slides well over the years. When we first looked at them after forty five years of storage they are still as vibrant as when first developed 60 years ago. That said, my wife scanned the slides for her mom and we view those slides today on large screen TV. The TV is easier on older eyes, mine included, and not subjecting the slides to carousel projector lamps is easier on the slides themselves. Plus most carousel lenses frankly weren’t that good anyway. And she can use the images from her one big trip in her life as the desktop image on her computer.

    And I have a S2000 for exactly the same reason you have a Miata!

  • I get what you’re saying on how you’re not a fan of super high resolution images with lots of sharpening. Memories aren’t that sharp, why should the photographs be? And there’s not a small amount of irony in that fashion photographers take those super sharp, high resolution photographs and then spend hours in Photoshop blurring out and smoothing over the skin pores and wrinkles and stray hairs that wouldn’t have shown up had they used something at a lower resolution, or maybe film.

    I have a high definition television of some sort, it might be 4K but I’m not sure. I do know the first time I watched something on it it looked terrible because there was too much detail in everything. With some digging in the sub menus I found the setting that reduced the resolution, or smoothed it out, or whatever it is a television does to make the images less offensive. I had to change that setting to make it tolerable to watch. But not to be a complete grouchy curmudgeon, the full resolution sure is nice for watching a hockey game.

    I like the S2000 a lot but they’ve kept too much of their value for me to consider one. Miatas are dirt cheap, a good example being about a quarter the price of an average S2000. I’ll give you that the Honda is probably a better car. I’m pretty happy with the Miata.

  • The TV issue you talk about is called “soap opera effect”. I had the same problem when I bought our current OLED screen. I am not sure exactly what it is but my TV had a setting you adjusted and it fixed it. My son is a TV and movie cameraman and he said that there is software that fixes the issue now from the production side. I know two or three years ago when Netflix made a low budget movie I could tell about 15 seconds into the show that they did not bother with using the software to smooth out the image.

    I bought a Honda S2000 in 2004 and sold it in 2008. To me the quality of the thing was really good. I sold it because I hardly used it and the dog did not like it. Once and a while I will look at used ones in the Auto Trader on line and am shocked at how high the old ones sell for. In my case I paid about $32,000 new and sold it four years later for $24,000. If I had had more garbage spaces I would not have sold it. To me it was like it was like a hot rod MGB. A hoot to take on a twisty two lane, many of which are just to the east of our house, but normal going-to-best-buy or the camera store on the freeway not so much fun. A Miata is much easier to live with in normal driving. My old 911 was much easier to drive on longer trips than the Honda too. The dog did not like the S2000 because she preferred a car where she got a back seat to herself. Here favorite was my convertible Mustang.

    One last point. I take video with my iPhone, Sony A7iii, and Sony HX99. None of the 4K videos I take with these cameras show any “soap opera” effect when I look at the files.

  • I am a fan of old tech. Kitchen appliances date from the 50s to the early 80s. Nothing like an old Toastmaster, Mix Master, or Osterizer. Have six cars between 1965-1973. One at 1991 and two more at 2004. I still use a typewriter in the office to type names on labels that can’t be done any other way. Today, my 10 year was writing a short story on the office computer only connected to a dot matrix printer. So he went over to the Brother typewriter and typed his story there. As for cameras… why am I here.

    • I imagine there was a time when analog tech was a new invention. With new tech, there’s often no better or worse, since the underlying problems people face are the same. We pine for past times, we get nostalgic, we long for things that grant us permanence and security, we crave for meaningful connection with others. In the article there’s mention of film being more real, and mechanical devices being tangible and easier to manipulate. But negatives get lost, physical photos fade, and time leaves most of us forgotten, to live on only in some dusty images. Nowadays physical things feel relatively more real because the world around us is digital, and there’s so much of it that it begins to lose it’s meaning. But when we attach ourselves to anything, be it physical or digital, we are already set up for failure, since nothing lasts forever. Still it’s nice now that we have the option of having the best of both worlds. Let’s learn from the best parts of the past without discounting the present.

  • Stefan Staudenmaier July 22, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Why using film in a digital world ?
    A ego hipsters thing just to be „special“ ?

    Rethink this for a moment – looking back in history.
    Is our live just so meaningless that anything we want to share today
    seems to be forgotten tomorrow ?

    Did you ever walked through a old cathedral ?
    People who worked there knowing they wouldn’t even
    see it finished in their lifetime wanted to get remembered
    so the put their sign in the Stones who Build it.
    Open your eyes and you will find this everywhere.

    Did you know Vivian Maier ?
    Nobody did until a guy with open eyes found
    her view on the world in some unspectacular boxes.

    Seems familiar right ?
    So just let us imagine you would have used a different
    Medium instead ?

    Do you really think anyone would read a 50 year old blog ?
    Could open a digital file or medium ?


    That’s why I still use film for things I want to keep
    or think they are important for my family to remember.

  • I like using film cameras – I continuously have used a Leica M6 for 12 years and an Olympus OM-1 for 40.. However, my work is all about making printed photographs, and the irony is that I can make photographs that feel more “real” from my digital images than I can from my negatives.

    What changed it all for me was when the traditional and ancient paper companies started to make digital printing paper. I am thinking of Hahnemühle, Canson, St Cuthberts Mill, etc., who have well over a millennium of paper-making history between them. I can now print my work on their heavy-weight, matte papers to produce a final object that is beautiful both to look at and delightful to handle. No analogue wet-process photo paper that I have ever encountered comes anywhere near the exquisite papers produced by the historic makers in appearance and most especially feel.

    This leaves me very conflicted. My film cameras are a joy to use and will likely outlive me. However, what I can produce from them will always be limited by the paper I can print my negatives on to. Ilford make some fine photographic paper, but it is still, for me, of limited appeal in how it feels in my hand.

    My digital cameras are just OK to use (I am a particular fan of my latest Nikon Z6) but when I print onto something like Hahnemühle Museum Etching (something only possible from digital) the final piece of work I can produce is such an absolute joy to look at and to handle; it makes me feel that modern digital imaging is indeed a very wonderful thing.

    When it comes down to it, for me it is the final piece of work that matters, and with the print media now available from the ancient paper makers means that digital imaging wins out. Everything I use to make the work are just tools. As a maker of prints, I need to use modern digital tools to be able to print onto the papers made using centuries-old techniques that I like most. How ironic is that!

    Typewriters? The one fundamental thing that they lack is Ctrl-Z!

    As to cars… I think that the apogee was around 1989 (the BMW E30 is one of my all-time favourites) and my everyday transport is a 20-year-old Porsche, which could also outlive me.

  • Jay Dann Walker in Melbourne Australia August 31, 2022 at 11:34 am

    Craig, you wrote – “Another thing that I own is a hard drive that has stopped working. I’m usually pretty good about double and triple redundancy when it comes to digital files and back-ups, but this one hard drive escaped my efforts for some reason, and how poetic is it that the one uncopied drive is the one that failed? On this drive are videos of my kid during the first year or two of her life, digitally recorded at a time when video cameras used rewritable DVDs which you would copy onto your computer’s (apparently) fragile data storage device. I keep meaning to take this drive to a tech guy to see if the files can be retrieved but it hasn’t happened yet, and I suspect the chances for recovery are slim to nil, and getting smaller every day.”

    Can you remove the hard disk from your computer?? If so, then it may be salvageable – possible something else “deceased” in your computer, and the hard disk is still alive and well, with all its contents intact, waiting to be resurrected.

    Bearing in mind that I’ve done this in the past with several Microsoft/Windows laptops, but (as yet, touch wood) never on a MacBook – it’s a simple process, and worth the small effort it involves. With a Microsoft/Windows HD, anyway.

    First, remove the hard disk. Then connect it to a new computer. It may (or may not) fire up and spring to life as a separate drive, like a Western Digital or some such other portable hard disk.

    If it does a Lazarus (ie resurrects) on you, then you can get a small portable disk drive box 9empty) online for a few dollars. My last one cost me all of AUD $9 and came by overseas post from China in less than one week.

    And boom! presto! you have a new hard disk with all your contact intent.

    One can but live in hope…

    Camera and other old stuff now. I’m old enough to have used just about every brand and format of camera going. At home in my camera cabinet and overflowing into a filing cabinet are one Leica LTM kit, four Rolleiflexes, three Nikkormats, two 1950s German folders, and a mind-dazzling assortment of other small cameras (mostly P&S) friends and family members have given me after falling into the dreaded ‘D’ syndrome (or madness in many cases).

    Film for all these beloved old shooters is getting expensive and in a few cases, difficult to source in Australia. With some effort, somehow I manage, mostly via Ebay or by contacting camera club members to buy (or beg) expired film. I still have a home darkroom so processing and, when I have the time and can muster up the energy to have a late night at my age, printing. I still enjoy it, but at almost 75 it nowadays takes its toll on my sleep patterns, so I do it less and less, and even then only during an Aussie winter when I tend to do more “at home” things.

    I won’t go into detail about the Remington Quiet-Rider I’ve owned since 1972 and still use, my fountain pens (about 30 of them, all restored and in beaut working condition) including a Parker 51 rolled gold “graduation set” kindly gifted to me by my late father-in-law, a 1950 Rolex Oyster now ancient but still keeping perfect time, and our beloved 1990 Audi. Ditto Oskar, our 15 year old Persian cross moggy acquired in 2013 from an animal shelter, two days before his pending execution. Many more things besides. I’m an addicted, over-the-hill, incorrigible old collector of secondhand things and I love it!!

    From Dann in Melbourne

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Craig Sinclair

Craig Sinclair was born in Ontario and is a University of Toronto School of Architecture graduate living in Vancouver for the second time. His photography explores the underlying narratives existing in found contexts. There is beauty in the ordinary, a concept he explores by taking a photograph every day; an exercise he began in 2007 and continues to this day.

All stories by:Craig Sinclair