When someone says to me “but you don’t develop your own films or have a darkroom, why bother shooting film” I always equate it with the football analogy of I can’t be a proper fan unless I go to away games.
To stick with the football analogy for a second. I have been a Manchester United supporter since I was 6 years old, I have been to Old Trafford to watch games and watch them on TV as much as possible and keep up to date with what is going on with them. To some this makes me an armchair/plastic supporter and not a true fan that goes every week.
Well its the same with film photography, I don’t develop my own film mainly due to time constraints. I have a circa 3 hour round trip commute during the week and like to keep weekend for family time. I completely get the many many advantages of developing my own film and the control it would give me in terms of the images I want to produce.
Likewise I also get the lab to scan my images (I do own a scanner, but see above). So aside from some post processing I don’t have full control of my output in this sense either.
I also need to make time to go out and actually take pictures
When I first started getting film processed I also had the lab print everything. I stopped this pretty quickly because, A it was expensive and B there were never 36 keepers. So now I selectively print the keepers from the digital scan via a print lab. Thus I have again lost some control of the final output. I would love to have a darkroom (or regular use of one) but it is not practical right now for my circumstances.
Therefore you could say why bother, just shoot digital only instead if that is all I am going to do. Yet with digital it is still the sensors view of my idea, it is still the Jpeg’s (yeah thats right I don’t shoot raw either) interpretation. It’s still my screen calibration of the colours and the printers take of my settings.
So where am I going with this. I admire and envy those that have full control of the film process from camera through to darkroom print but it’s not suitable for me right now, I hope one day it will be.
I shoot film because I the look of it despite my constraints around the control of the output.
But mainly I shoot film because I really enjoy it so I make it fit around my lifestyle the only way I know how.