Remember those old cameras that your parents used to use to photograph family holidays on? Or perhaps you're old enough to remember film photography in it's heyday or even it's twilight years; Where the idea of instant photographic gratification was but a mere speck of the imagination (excluding the ever-characterful world of Polaroids of course) so why are we now falling in love with this technologically-inferior, outdated medium all over again in the 21st century?
Personally, a large part of the love affair I have with analogue photography is in the process itself. The way that it slows you down by comparison to digital photography is a strange, almost meditative experience. Framing up your shot requires so much more care, as cropping a film shot in post-production feels like sacrilege, not to mention the fact that you only have 12-36 shots per roll (depending on your chosen film/film type). It really makes you consider each shot in far more detail, and as a result you're also more accepting of each shot; Imperfections with an analogue image are far more likely to be forgiven than with their digital counterparts, as instead of being a flaw, they add character and a soul to the image.
The other part of analogue photography that really draws me to the medium is the physical nature of the format. Loading the film into the camera; The mechanical 'thump' of the shutter as you depress the button; Manually advancing the film between exposures, and finally rewinding the film to send off to be processed - not to mention the fact that the cameras themselves are often works of art in their own right.
Of course, there are situations where modern techniques and technology excel, such as when you are required to fire of hundreds of shots in rapid succession (in motorsport for example) or if you're shooting in particularly tricky conditions, where you know that extensive post-production will be required. Analogue has a time and place, but when the conditions and subject are right, it is a simply wonderful experience.
Workshops are a personal favourite subject to shoot when using my analogue photography gear. The textures that would often get lost in digital images feel far more 'real', whilst the process of building a car is often a nostalgic one in itself, with the timeless images produced through film photography truly enhancing and embracing this sense of nostalgia.
Shallow depth-of-field shots are also wonderfully executed with film, with a real 'creamy' smoothness resulting from a well-executed wide aperture shot. Medium format (120) film is especially effective here, with the large negatives giving a really gradual, velvety-smooth falloff compared to 35mm film or digital images.
Dereliction, Decay and Rust are all personal favourites with film. The retro, old-world style that comes from shooting with film lend themselves perfectly to depicting decay, adding a feeling of 'grit' to images that digital photography just cannot capture, even when VSCO (or similar) film-inspired presets are applied... real 'character' that comes from film simply cannot be emulated.
Take the large image of the steering wheel above for example; There is a real feeling of forgotten nostalgia in the image, conjuring up questions about why the poor type 2 bus has been left and forgotten (it was in fact just a project awaiting attention) - I feel these questions and emotions just simply aren't there in digital images in the same way that they are when shot on film, with the final images having a real sense of emotion and connection with the viewer.
And last but not least, my absolute favourite use for analogue photography: Creating a sense of timelessness when capturing a historic scene.
These scenes above could have all easily been shot 40-50 (or more) years ago - in actual fact they were all shot at the wonderful Bicester Heritage in the last couple of years. The combination of historic subjects captured on period-correct media yields wonderfully timeless and historically-accurate results. You would have to really pick apart each image to find telltale signs that they were shot in the 21st century, and therein lies the wonder of analogue photography.
As with all things, the march of technology and the desire to 'progress' in the world is relentless, with numerous big-name brands (such as Fuji) severely depleting or totally killing off their film lines in recent years. Amidst this doom-and-gloom however, there are real success stories. Polaroid film is being re-manufactured; Indie film brands such as Fomapan and Cinestill are either producing new film or re-manufacturing historic film stocks; Even Kodak are getting in on the action by reissuing slide film.
There is definitely a tangible resurgence within the world of film photography in the 21st century, and long may it continue - so that we few, plucky analogue photographers may continue to hone our craft and enjoy the 'outdated' world of film photography well into this century.