I still love looking at slides, there is something about the analog medium that attracts me. I think the limit of 36 exposures on a roll of film makes one choose more wisely about what to photograph. The cost of a roll of film with development puts a restriction on how much shooting one can do, as does the bulk of carrying film out into the field. In addition, shooting film does not allow for immediate gratification in seeing the shot on the screen of the camera.
In the past, I have watched my students look puzzled when handed a film camera, they want to know where the screen is. When shooting with the camera, they will take it away from their eyes and look down and the blank back of the camera in that search for instant gratification. When weaned from the need to see their image immediately, they find enjoyment in the process of shooting and waiting to develop. They focus on previsualizing their images, and begin to understand that 36 great images can be better than 1000 random shots.
Indeed, there is something special about shooting film, and many have returned to that medium. It is a niche that will continue to delight the brave souls who choose to go that route. Is film technically better than digital? I think the answer to that is a qualified, ”no.” The developments in digital photography have made it sharper and more versatile than 35 mm film could ever be. Digital is certainly better than I ever imagined it could be; however, film is not ready to die and I believe the resurgence of film shooting is a good thing for photography.
I will continue editing my film archives to attain a manageable number of slides in storage. Some people ask me if I am sad to throw away so much of my past work, but in fact it is a positive exercise for me, in a way a cleansing process. I get to look at old images with a new eye. The process recharges my passion for photography, I get inspired by what I have done in the past, and it makes me want to create better images in the future.