In the last couple of years, film has been making a big comeback in the photography and art industry. Across cultures, countries, and different demographic groups, are professionals and newcomers buying disposable cameras, 35mm film cameras, medium format film cameras, and others to capture moments. When it comes to professional photographers who focus their work in the car community, many have been looking for new ways to capture this culture. With digital cameras improving constantly every year, people are getting used to constant improvements year after year. However, I personally feel these improvements in the field of digital photography have caused many people’s skills and artwork to plateau, since they don’t necessarily have to think about how to create the perfect shot. When it comes to the digital camera, photographers can easily let the camera do most of the leg work. In contrast, film photography is challenging, fun, and exciting. It allows many different artists to capture a nostalgic aesthetic - like a moment that feels like it was from the 80’s, yet was taken in today's day and age. I feel that the big reason for the film camera’s resurgence is due to the fact that people are currently seeking authenticity, and want to be able to see something new and different from what we are used to since digital came into the picture in the late '90s.
The process of photographing on film is quite fascinating, as it’s a very tangible medium. You have to load in your camera with film, wind the film, and then get the roll developed in order for it to be scanned and imported into your computer. Film forces you to slow down – every shot matters when you only have 36 or 24 shots in a 35mm film roll, and if you shoot on 120 film it can vary from 4, 8, 10, and 12 shots. This has allowed many different types of artists to improve their craft, as it makes them more creative and aware of their surroundings and framing. I’ve personally done my best to make the complete switch to film photography, as I love how slow the process truly is. It has allowed me to appreciate every frame I compose, and pay close attention to every detail that I can see in my viewfinder. Film photography has made me feel like my emotions and visions can be felt when I’m photographing a scene due to this process.
The car community has thrived in being showcased in an authentic way, showing the beauty of the culture. I personally believe that film does an amazing job in capturing the feeling of car culture and what it is really all about. Cars are much more than transportation vehicles, and are humanizing in a sort of way as we tend to customize our cars with shiny wheels, fresh paint, body kits, and much more. Film allows for these vehicles to be captured in a beautiful way. People are always keen on seeing or feeling things in a nostalgic way, as it makes these photographs feel like they are part of the era that some of these owners never got to experience.
For these photographs, it is about showcasing respect and appreciation to the car owners and manufacturers for the vehicles they choose to create and own. It is much more than just a photo - it is all about the feeling that comes alive when you view these types of images, and being a part of the excitement that our childhood selves always dreamed of. For many in the car community, seeing these types of vehicles from the person that first introduced you into this amazing world of car culture can evoke emotions that are not only unique, but the memories can last with you forever in the photo.
Story and Photography by Angel Fonseca.