Celebrating beautiful analog photography from the past and present day

Annie Spratt
May 2 · 4 min read

“The reason I shoot film in the age of the DSLR, the CMOS sensor, 16-bit RAW, four-hundred-and-nine-thousand ISO, and 61 points of phase-detection autofocus is simple: it is analogous to choosing your feet as a mode of transportation rather than the automobile, to spending an evening preparing a meal for your family instead of going out to a restaurant, or designing and building something yourself when you could have just purchased it. It is about the process. ” — Cody Smith

Photos by Diana Spatariu

I was born in the mid 1970’s and like many born in that generation, my relationship with photography and film started the day I was born.

That’s a pretty powerful thought isn’t it? There aren’t many things that you’re exposed to on the day you are born that remain with you for life.

Growing up I was fascinated by looking at our family photo albums, seeing myself as a baby, how my parents and grandparents looked when they were younger. Those snapshots to the past, especially those of my parents and grandparents, helped me to develop a strong sense of identity and relate to others in my family.

I can still vividly recall holding 35mm negative film up to the light and thinking how different everything looked, how it must be some magic that made the negatives from the camera, and then turn that tiny strip into bigger photographs. Decades later, I still look at negatives in the same way, with a sense of awe.

Me rocking my ‘baby face’ — Download

Film photography has always been a part of Unsplash, but recently we’ve seen a rise in the the number of photographers sharing their film photography.

Surges in people discovering, or rediscovering, film is nothing new. Over the past few years I’ve heard ‘film is having a comeback’ numerous times. But truth be told it never really went anywhere, it’s just that some of us took longer to find it than others. Take me for example, I’m 44 years old and have just starting shooting film for the first time.

Once I started shooting film, I started noticing film photography more as I navigated Unsplash in my day to day work and for personal inspiration. There’s been a trend over the past couple of years to create digital images that look like film, and whilst some come close to emulating real film you can usually tell the difference if you look closely enough. Often it’s the glorious imperfections that give the game away!

One afternoon we set up a ‘Shot of film’ Unsplash profile, the share collections curated by the Unsplash Editoral Team, to showcase some of the brilliant film photography shared on Unsplash. It was shared with the rest of the team, and Luke Chesser jumped in with an idea…

A few days later and the Film Topic was introduced on Unsplash, accessible directly from the homepage.

If you share film photography on Unsplash, tag your images to help us discover them. Some good tags include; shot on film, 35mm, 120mm, film photography, analog.

Of course you can also drop us a Tweet to let us know too.

Instant film, 35mm, 120mm, large format — it’s all welcome on Unsplash, so fire up your scanners or grab your DSLR and let’s bring these analogue moments into the digital world. Let’s share the beauty of film, introduce it to new audiences and support others starting to use film. 🎞

Handy resources

Why YOU should be shooting film video
How to Get Started With Film Photography article
How to: Read light using basic daylight exposure (sunny 16 rule) video
How to Scan and Organize 35mm Film Negatives video
Scanning without a Scanner: Digitizing Your Film with a DSLR article

Unsplash Blog

Behind the scenes building the open photography movement at Unsplash.

Annie Spratt

Written by

🇬🇧 Part of the @Unsplash Community + Editorial Team. Gifting 10 photos daily to the internet’s open library of visuals on Unsplash. unsplash.com/anniespratt

Unsplash Blog

Behind the scenes building the open photography movement at Unsplash.

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