The following views do not necessarily represent the views of the whole StreetHunters team.
Still, in 2017 the debate between digital and film rages on. Digital may have won the technological and consumer battle, but the struggle for hearts and minds continues ad infinitum. There continue to be countless street photographers who love shooting with film and maintain that it is the best way to go. Film still offers one of the best bang-for-your-buck initial investments into the world of cameras and particularly street photography (though more on that later), and is a fully traditional process practiced by the great masters of street photography, and a medium that has been refined through years and years of gentle evolution. It is grown-up, mature, tried and tested. Digital, by contrast (and in the grand scheme of things) is still in its infancy. While it has overtaken film in several technical aspects – light sensitivity (ISO) and size (ie the ability to squeeze sensors and cameras into our smartphones) being just two examples – in other respects digital continues to evolve and require finessing. The digital street photographer is still playing and experimenting with a medium in flux, and one where they still (if successfully lured into it) have to take part in the constant arms race and never ending hamster wheel of new gear (read sensors) through gear acquisition syndrome. It’s not necessary, but it’s an easy trap to fall into. No such issues with film. And then there’s that intangible quality. The utterly subjective (and to an extent invented) and the mythical. The glorious analogue nature of a process that as times seems like witchcraft made real. Light and chemistry coming together to create something not alive, but packed full of character and imperfection. Where silicon wafers and ones and zeros are replaced with something altogether more powerful. Something with soul. Or so it goes. As a millennial, raised on 35mm disposal and compact cameras in the ‘90s but cutting my teeth and really ‘learning’ solely on digital in the noughties, I owed it to myself to give film a shot. So read on for my experience of using film in street photography.