Photography is a manifestation of a moment and has the ability to incite emotions and elicit nostalgia. Capturing time with an image continues to define historic events in society today. Except now we see a new wave of history recording where everyone is a photographer and photo editing expert.

Talbot’s “View of the Boulevards of Paris”

Although technology is conveniently designed to simplify tasks and make our lives easier there is a common tragedy of the reinvention of a classic design such as a camera; being that the original is rendered obsolete. The digital photography age is taking over and now film cameras are no longer being produced due to their lack of demand. Still, my interest remains in the old, classic and unpredictable world of Black and White film photography.

From the early works of William Henry Fox Talbot’s daguerreotype in The Pencil of Nature shown above to the ethereal compositions of Julia Margaret Cameron, the black and white photography world has truly progressed whilst maintaining its classic origin.

Cameron’s King Arthur

Some things never die and even with the invention and explosion of digital photography the world of film still remains a respected form of art as it should. The expertise required to create a properly exposed negative is a tangible experience all but lost to the younger generation today. Equipped with a phone and Instagram the average users can simply create and share their world with their own twist of filters.

Film is not dead, it is only hiding from those who never wish to find it. For others, it is there and it is alive and well. I challenge anyone who is interested in discovering what photography is about to take a roll of film and a dusty antique 35mm camera and see what you can do. You may surprise yourself when you see what kind difficulties this tangible process possesses and grow a new appreciation for an irreplaceable form of art.

Here are a few recommendations for cameras and film to either start or perfect your skills. Check ebay and craigslist to compare prices with your local photo store. Click the links for details.

Cameras:
Nikon FM series
Minolta X-700
Canon AE-1
Pentax K-1000

Film:
Kodak T-Max(dark blacks, deep contour)
Ilford HP4 or HP5(grainy and slightly grey)
Kodak Tri-X(true and crisp)
Ilford Delta(dark greys and grainy)

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