Why the film look appeals to us

Why the film look appeals to us

There are many photographers who imitate the film look or even shoot on film. Our technology is getting better and better, but the old-fashioned and past looks more interesting. Why is that?


People strive for perfection. They want to develop the most streamlined car. The perfect surround sound. The sharpest lens.

Yet imperfection is an attribute of humanity. Perfection tends to be seen as something unrealistic or artificial, while imperfection is seen as more natural and authentic. The perception of imperfection can also be linked to the idea of human uniqueness and individuality, as each person has their own flaws and weaknesses.

In addition, acceptance of imperfection can also be linked to the idea of self-acceptance. When we allow ourselves to accept our flaws, we can treat ourselves more lovingly and be less self-critical of ourselves. I'm sure we feel the same way when we look at a film look photo.

Main attributes of the film look:

  • grain
  • color-contrast solution
  • color imperfections
  • halos on high contrast contours
  • soft contours
  • highlights compression
  • soft glow on highlights

The film look in photography is often associated with a nostalgic and romantic feel that captures the essence of the past. There is a certain appeal to the imperfections and unique characteristics of film that cannot be replicated by digital cameras. These imperfections include grain, color shifts, and vignetting, which can add a certain mood or atmosphere to an image.

Grain is interesting to look at because it adds texture and depth to an image. It creates a visual noise that can enhance the visual interest of the photo, and can also be used to convey a certain mood or feeling. For example, high grain can be used to create a gritty, raw, or edgy look, while low grain can give a softer and more ethereal look.

Furthermore, grain is often associated with the past, and can evoke a sense of nostalgia and authenticity. This is because many iconic images from the past were captured on film, and the unique characteristics of film grain have become an inseparable part of the collective memory of our visual culture.

Overall, the film look and the use of grain in photography are both popular because they allow photographers to convey a certain mood, evoke emotions, and capture a sense of nostalgia and authenticity that cannot be achieved with digital cameras alone.

I'm questioning whether or not I should also breathe more of a film look into my images. I have to think about that. Should I decide to do this, however, the photos should not look like they were processed with a cheap filter, but must be very soulful. I let the topic work within me for a while.