Black and White analogue photography versus Digital

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Passion before bedtime shot by Keith Moss using Ilford Delta 3200.

This is a topic that seems to get many photographers over excited, we all have our own views and thoughts on which medium is better for creating images. There is no doubt that digital is marvellous, you can achieve amazing results shooting black and white digitally.

For a start you can shoot each shot with a different ISO whereas with film, whatever speed of film is in the camera you have to stick with it and make sure your surrounding settings are correct.
Black and white digital is so sharp; you can alter the characteristics and tone from shot to shot.

However I don’t want to bang on any more about the pros of digital; the reason?… it’s not film. I have said it before and I will say it again and again, film is where my artistic passion truly lies.

For me film has and always will have a beauty that digital just can’t touch. There is nothing finer than a beautiful darkroom print showing the richness of tone, contrast and sharpness printed from Ilford PanF Plus 50 film; to the grain and strikingly atmospheric print from the incredible film that is Ilford delta 3200.

I know that it takes more time to produce an image from film than it does digitally, but for me that’s not a negative… (get the pun). When you shoot film it makes you slow down, you want all aspects of your image to be perfect so you really have to think before you press the shutter. Once I have pressed the shutter I get a pleasing feeling knowing that the image I have just created is perfect and beautiful. Once the image has been captured you then begin to think about how you are going to process the film, and how you are going to print the image to get the shot that inspired you to pick up your camera in the first place. The darkroom process is just as exciting as capturing the image, that’s when you see the image come to life.

To me it’s such a positive (no a pun intended again) this is what makes me a better photographer, it broadens my horizons gets my creative juices flowing feeds my soul and adds to my passion. I am constantly gaining more passion and knowledge when I shoot with film.

Remember back in the day when you purchased a film camera you expected to own it, cherish and love it for the rest of your life. But now it seems you spend all your hard earned money on a shiny all singing all dancing digital camera with an instruction booklet the size of a bible to go with it, knowing the likelihood is that you will have to trade it in within a couple of years, loose a fortune and spend another fortune to get the very latest body so that you’re not outdone by fellow photographers. My feeling is you pay which ever way, remember a digital camera is not for life whereas a film camera is, welI, I believe they last and don’t tend to loose value.

Don’t get me wrong I use digital cameras and will carry on so for a long time, I value them greatly. My Leica M9 is a beautiful camera, but when I want/need to release my artistic thoughts and ideas I always choose film, for me nothing can compare. The relationship I have with my film cameras and film will always be special.

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Helouise shot by Keith Moss using Ilford PanF Plus 50.

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