Film isn’t dead, and that’s a good thing – Daily Trojan Online | Episode Movies

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)
Photos bring us back to our favorite memories, but the digitization of our lives has led to a need for perfection rather than sharing reality.

It was April 2022. Coachella was in full swing. Dressed in glitter and our finest outfits, my roommates and I were prepared for what was obviously the best three days of our lives—or at least everyone else would think we were. After drinking seltzer and taking photos, we headed to the festival.

It was exhausting euphoria, but euphoria nonetheless. A lot of my favorite artists got together in one place and it was an excuse to show everyone how great I looked. what would be better For many, Coachella is less about its audio experience and more about how it performs on Instagram.

This engagement with sharing the experience online was something I was aware of and actively participated in. Until I walked onto the set of Phoebe Bridgers and realized my phone had been stolen. After leaving my computer at USC, I realized with horror that I would be offline for 72 hours. How should I contact my family? What if I lose my friends? But most of all, how would I record how great a time I had?

The first two issues were quickly resolved when my roommate promised to use her phone to text my parents that I wasn’t dead and that we would stay together. As for the latter, I reminded myself that in my backpack was also my most prized possession: my Canon Z-135 film camera.

In 2007, Apple released the iPhone, revolutionizing a ubiquitous ability to have a small working computer in your pocket. With each release of their latest version, there have been significant improvements in technology, especially the camera. With each of these updates, carrying a separate camera became increasingly obsolete for all but professional photographers. This trend, combined with the ongoing transition to digital media, seemed to be the nail in the coffin for analog photography. In 2012, photo legend Kodak even filed for bankruptcy.

But despite what seemed like the ending, the movie is back and better than ever. Since 2014, film distributors have been experiencing a comeback in the film market. Hashtags like #filmisnotdead continue to trend (over 23 million posts on Instagram) and film cameras have risen in price. Whether it is due to the aesthetics of film photos, a nostalgia for the past, or a combination of some of these or other factors, one can only speculate. The resurgence of film photography, however, is a necessary exercise in today’s sphere of an increasingly rare delayed gratification.

We live in a time where everything is instantaneous. Fancy Chipotle? With a few taps of the screen, a burrito bowl will be at your door in 30 minutes. Do you feel lonely or sexually disadvantaged? A few lucky swipes to the right and you can be at someone’s door at the end of the night. There are even several cannabis delivery apps in California.

This phenomenon extends beyond Postmates and Tinder. This need for immediacy is extremely common in the ability to capture a wealth of digital photos and the desire of many to achieve perfection on digital platforms. With the capacity to snap 100 photos in 10 seconds, we examine and analyze every single angle and distortion of the body and face to find the perfect shot to match those in everyone else’s feed.

Even apps trying to combat this, notably the popular app BeReal, have stood up for the performance. What appears to be the imposed shame of posting late or letting people know what you’re doing at a more opportune time doesn’t seem to bother users who would rather let others into their lives if they were better looking and far more interesting. Feelings like “ugh, I wish my BeReal notification would go off NOW” reflect this desire for perfect performance, the need to be constantly interesting in order to convey a more compelling message about one’s life.

Film photography combats all of that. With a limited number of photos per roll (24 or 36 for refillable point-and-shoot cameras and 27 or 36 for disposable cameras), the medium lends itself to capturing just one photo at a time. Furthermore, the lack of immediacy – the need to wait and see what the photos look like – allows them to simply exist in the moment they are in without having to analyze their actions and their appearance, as it should be in one JPEG manifested. It allows one to capture a moment and see what it looks like later, as opposed to immediately, while also creating the excitement for later developing photos.

In a world revolving around instant gratification and how we appear digital, film photography is a tool that simultaneously combats the need for perfection and immediacy. My Coachella weekend was truly one of the best of my life, mostly because I didn’t spend the weekend looking at the festival through other people’s photos. I was totally immersed in the experience. It was my own for my eyes only and for the sparse moments captured by my canon.

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