The Exquisite and Sublime Found in Film Photography

Topics: Photographic film, Photography, Camera Pages: 8 (2755 words) Published: April 2, 2013
The Aesthetics in Film Photography
The Exquisite and Sublime Found in Film Photography

After the first digital camera came 20 years after the first attempt at digital video, more and more kinds of digital cameras were invented then, which also causes the death of films to start ever since digital became a practical and affordable proposition. These days digital photography has the majority of the photographic share, leaving film photographers as some sort of strange or exotic beasts in the world of photography. However, the trend of film photography still exists in the 21st century and many still believes that there is still hope for film photography as many youths which are interested in Lomography or toy cameras, are increasing. Thus, the ‘digital versus film photography’ topic had people debating since 20th century. So, do aesthetics exist in film photography? Why people are still using film photography when digital photography is much more convenient? What is so special about it? Why people are so obsessed about it? Many said that film photography is a beauty, but do they know beauty comes in different kinds of form? Beauty is a part of aesthetics, but in this article I will only focus mainly on these two points- ‘exquisite’ and ‘sublime’. I will explain both of them and how can both of them to be found in film photography. Plus, I will aim more on film cameras and films. And maybe people in the end will start to enjoy it differently- in the aesthetic way.

The Aesthetics in Film Photography
The Exquisite and Sublime Found In Film Photography
Introduction to Film Photography
“Photography” is derived from the Greek words- φῶς (photos) “light” and γραφή (graphé) “representation by means of lines” or “drawing”, together meaning “drawing with light”. It was reported that Sir John Herschel in a lecture before the Royal Society of London, on March 14, 1839 who made the word “photography” known to the whole world. Photographic imaging began with the invention of the Camera Obscura, a large box where light could produce images. Photography itself began with professional photographers inserting silver coated glass plates into large box-like cameras. They found that a chemical reaction with the silver coated plates could then produce an opposite image when treated with other chemicals; over specialized paper using different chemicals they could then produce the actual photographs.

*Figure 1: Portable Camera Obscura, late 18 C. (popular accessory to sketching) Many of these images, such as the famous photographs of Abraham Lincoln by Matthew Brady, were examples of this rigorous process. From this point it became the goal of many photographers to simplify this process. The next significant stage in photography was the invention of celluloid or film. Many of the early processes still crude by today’s standards employed the loading of large cameras with large quantities of film, allowing the photographer to remain in the field to produce more images per session. The development process was also simplified. They began to develop machines that would allow speedier development and processing of photographs to the paper. Along with these innovations, the huge bulky cameras eventually became smaller and easier to operate. Photography came out of the hands of professionals only and into the mainstream with the innovation of cameras such as the Brownie Bulls-Eye camera, which had features such as an attached flash. At this point cameras still needed to be loaded and unloaded in the dark so as to not expose the film. During World War II lenses evolved and cameras became more like what we know today. The development of the single lens reflex allowed photographers more opportunity to focus, choosing images that were at a greater range of distances. However, this made photography more confusing to the amateur and again photography threatened to become once again an art instead of a hobby. The answer to this by the...
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