"What's the big deal with shooting film?"

That's a question i've seen a lot. Both from fellow photographers and muggles alike. I asked myself many times. My introudction to photography was almost entirely digital (save for a handful of disposables on holidays as a child). My first three SLRs were all Digital- A Nikon D3000, D5000 and a Pentax K100D. The kind of flexibility offered by digital was freeing, the immediate feedback, the ability to tweek on the spot, it's like walking on air.

But the higher you go, the thinner the air is. Shooting solely digital is also suffocating. That same wonderfully freeing instant feedback also drives an obsessive perfectionism. Pushing ever onwards for more clarity, more perfect focus, and more megapixels. A quest for the perfect capture. Flawless. Noiseless. I-can-see-the-cells-of-your-skin focused.

And so things come back around, full circle. Shooting film, for all it's limitations, is also freeing, but for entirely different reasons. The first time I shot with my Pentax Spotmatic II, I instinctively 'chimped'. I looked away from the viewfinder to see my shot on the screen. There wasn't one. I did it again. And again. Slowly you start to learn a whole new style, shooting glued to the viewfinder, adapting the few settings you can entirely by your own judgement.

I shot two rolls of film (which is super cheap, by the way) and sent them off for developing. The results were... unique. Far from perfect, but unique. They had imperfections, grain, over and underexposures, but they looked great anyway. If I'd taken these shots with my D7000 I would've deleted them without a second thought. But with film, you have a limited number of shots, and so every one has to count. Shooting a roll of film and getting back a bunch of pictures you like is a far better feeling than shooting 20 shots in Digital and getting one 'perfect' capture.

The other reason I love shooting film is, (and I hope you'll forgive me) a little bit elitist. I've moved to oxford, and the number of huge, fancy DLSRs on display is a bit heartbreaking (especially the way some of the tourists treat their cameras. It causes me genuine emotional distress). Especially when it follows the revelation that, with tourists photographing literally every square inch of the city, there's almost nothing I can do here that hasn't been done a million times before. But when you're walking around with a film camera? You're definitely not a tourist. These days everyone with an iPhone is a 'photographer', and as Syndrome says Pixar's The Incredibles, "When everyone's super... no one will be". I suppose it's a little selfish to feel that way, but at the same time I just want to create beautiful and interesting imagery, and shooting film twists and moulds my photography into something entirely other. Something different, and better.