I recently read an article in ZOOMER magazine about the resurgence in vinyl record albums. They’re big nostalgia items for boomers who grew up putting their music on a turntable and listening right there in the same room.
But it’s not just boomers – millennials are discovering the tactile allure of both the vinyl record AND the album cover. That big, foot square (30 cm x 30 cm, whatever that is) album cover gave designers and musicians a lot of real estate to enhance the creativity of their music in a visual way. From highly original cover art to song lyrics, these covers were a joy to behold – right in your hand.
Size does matter. Can you imagine seeing the cover art for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on your phone screen. Pretty hard to decipher who’s in the crowd as well as all the other neat details.
For more on the album cover CLICK HERE
Will Film Photography Return?
All this got me thinking about photographic film and wondering if there will be a resurgence in film photography in the future?
Turns out – YES there is!
In an article in The Guardian they talk about the resurrection of film and film cameras since film sales peaked in 2003.
Rosie Matheson is typical of the new wave of professionals who have embraced film. At the age of 22, the portrait and documentary photographer has worked for Adidas and Nike, and for Vice and i-D magazines.
“My parents had an old 35mm film camera lying around, and I picked it up around age of seven and started to use it,” she recalls. “I started shooting digital when I was a teenager but I never fell in love with it. The images looked compressed to me, [they] didn’t look authentic. The darkroom is for me almost therapeutic, going into your own world, listening to music, bringing these images to life.
Watching it all happen, a physical experience. We’re now in such an instant world, with iPhones, digital cameras. It’s good to have this slow process, ripping off the wrapper around the film, putting it in the camera.”
This slowing-down process is well illustrated by this info-graphic.
I fondly recall my days in the darkroom. I got my first real darkroom when I was 12 years old, when I got an enlarger for Christmas. My Dad and I built it in the basement. It was a step up from my first makeshift “dark room” in the cold storage “fruit cellar” under the front porch of our house.
There was always something magical about exposing a piece of film or paper to light, running it through some chemical baths, and watching an image appear! It was a tangible, “touchy-feely” process with an end result you could hold in your hand.
Lawrence Von Thomas is a Belgian photographer who is designing a new 35mm film camera aimed at 20-30 year olds who want to fall in love with film and photography. Von Thomas says:
“If you shoot on film, your mind focuses very differently from when you shoot digitally. Film photography focuses your mind but with digital, the brain tends to wander off when you’re still taking the pictures, and you’re thinking about adjusting the pictures digitally while you’re taking them.”
Do I like digital photography? You bet. I can do things with images that I could never do with film. But there was always something about the slow, methodical process of film and printing in the darkroom that sparked me as a photographer.
My wife insisted that I keep an enlarger and some trays when I gave my darkroom to the local high school years ago (they don’t even teach film anymore). Maybe I’ll dust them off and make a few prints. She’ll be thrilled.
Did you ever work in a darkroom – for work or pleasure? Share your experience below in the comments.