04 Sep

Why Film Photography Still Matters in Competitions

The word photography literally means “drawing with light”, derived from the Greek words phos meaning “light”, and graphê meaning “drawing or writing”, the word originating around 1839. In the art of photography, light plays a pivotal role.  

During film photography, a light-sensitive film roll is placed within the camera. When the camera shutter opens, the film is exposed to light and an impression is captured – a photograph is taken.  

Film is physical and through exposure and development it transforms into a single image only to be used once, (however digital copies can come from an original film). 

Authenticity, nostalgia, and visual appeal are a few reasons why film photography is making a comeback.  According to Art By Pino, “The revival of discontinued films and the introduction of new film stocks are a testament to the growing demand for film photography” (2023), such as the revived sales of Kodak Gold 200 film in 120 format and the rise in popularity of modern film cameras such as the Fuijifilm Instax.  

As film photography popularity continues to rise amongst photographers of all skill levels, photography contests and competitions are introducing categories exclusively for film categories. The 2023 K12 In Focus Photography Competition offers a category for film, plus DSLR Lens Master, and Smartphone Shots.  

When a entering photography competition, such as the 2023 K12 In Focus Photography Competition, students using film have an opportunity to showcase not just their subject, but also the subtle details of the film medium itself.  

Let’s zoom in further with reasons why film photography still matters in photography competitions.  

  • Authenticity 

Film captures a moment as it truly exists in time. And because a film photograph is the result of a unique chemical reaction, every shot is one-of-a-kind. The development of a photograph can leave behind particles that result in a grain-like texture and produces an organic feel to the photograph that is less sharp than digital pictures.  

  • Nostalgia 

Film has been used for over a century and photographers often find a connection between nostalgia and film photography. Notably, many historical moments and iconic images from the past were captured on film. For many, their first experience with photography was snapping photographs with the family camera and waiting for film to develop, anticipating what each photograph would evolve into through the tangible memory that is a photograph. 

  • Visual Appeal 

The visual appeal from film photography is one of many attributes setting film apart from digital photography. Film photography produces an organic grain-line surface that adds unique texture and depth. Different color profiles from film stocks also enhance the visual appeal of film photography. Warm or muted tones convey a vintage tone while vibrate saturations evoke brightness and happiness. When film captures light and shadow, it results in rich blacks and subtle gradations, adding drama and more depth to photographs.  

Why Does Film Photography Matter Photography Competition?   

Film photography, and its unique blend of authenticity, nostalgia, and visual appeal could be the perfect category when planning your submission for the 2023 K12 In Focus Photography Competition.  

The film photography category offers rising photographers the chance to demonstrate a plethora of skills technical skills such as manual camera proficiency and understanding aperture, shutter speed, and focus; also handling, loading, and developing film.  

In addition to showcasing technical talent, film photography matters in a competition because artistic details bring aesthetic richness to a sea of digital photographs. The rich details in highlights and shadows from film photography are likely to stand out in competitions.  

Film photography also challenges creativity as the limits and randomness of film can push photographers to think outside the box, leading to innovative and unique entries. 

Finally, supporting film in competitions ensures that the knowledge, techniques, and artistic visions of film photography are preserved and sometimes even revived. It’s no surprise shooting on 35mm has become popular again and modern films like the Polaroid are making a big comeback, evident that traditional film methods continue to have a platform in the modern age. 

The 2023 K12 In Focus Photography Competition is now open with three categories for your photo entry: DSLR Lens Master, Smartphone Shots, and Film Photography. Enter now, registration closes October 16, 2023.