I am not a luddite, I swear. But I do prefer film.

I have been forced to come to terms with like technology and programs such as Photoshop just fine. Very cool stuff. I'm so glad it's available. It's just that I'm lazy when it comes to sitting in front of the computer, working on images. I get the same feeling I get when I'm facing big stacks of laundry that have to be put away (I don't mind folding, but I hate putting away, which is why my clothes are littered all over the sofa in neat little stacks for days and days). So one reason I prefer film over digital is that I get to avoid that feeling. With film, you don’t have to post-process or run “actions”. You do almost everything in camera so afterward it’s easy. By choosing the type of camera, lens, film, lighting, exposure, etc., you are pretty much doing the equivalent of post-processing RAW files, without being hunched over the computer for hours after the fact. It forces me to know my s**t because I want to do it right the first time and not spend hours "fixing" it.

But the most important reason I prefer film is the simplest one: I like the way it looks. Film is richer, creamier, softer…it is better than digital at expressing my point of view. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. See how sharp that picture is? I’m not denying that it’s a pretty image, but the hyper-sharpness makes my eyes hurt a little. I know this is false but I swear I can see all the 0's and 1's that make up the picture.

© Christine Han 2006

Now look at how creamy this one is. Granted, this is a Holga shot so the plastic lens is what produces what I call the "mush-factor," but even pictures I take with the super sharp Zeiss lens on my Hassy just look better different.

(please ignore the beam-me-up-scottie ray of light there)
© Christine Han 2009

Also, I am much more thoughtful about taking pictures when I’m shooting film than when I shoot digital. Each exposure is a measured take, kind of precious, you know? And it produces a negative—something I can actually touch.

But I do shoot digital when I think it’s appropriate, and it definitely has its advantages in some situations…And it can sometimes certainly produce beautiful images too.


  1. so pretty! how funny, i just learned what a "tractor beam" is while reading gerry's script tonight.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more, although I'd love an easy way to get the film developed without having to drive to a developer, etc...

    including the need to scan them in with a decent scanner as well.

  3. Thanks for keeping it alive Jonathan! I don't know what I would do without it...