Why Analog Photography Is Timeless

Guest submission by Lynn R.

Do you know that feeling you get when you browse through your grandparent’s house and stumble upon the numerous albums compiled of your parents as teenagers? After having a good laugh and poking fun at your mother’s bizarre outfits and your father’s ridiculous choice in hairstyle, do you ever stop to ask yourself why those photographs evoke such a warm and nostalgic feeling?

In this day and age, with approximately 5.27 billion people in possession of a mobile device, current photographs are taken through smartphones which are meant to serve as a more convenient and fast-paced medium for capturing photos. However, due to this more and more photos are starting to become less personal and sentimental. Continue reading to find out why.

Texture and Grittiness

Since the invention of the smartphone in 1992, people have been using a myriad of editing applications to alter and conceal blemishes in photos. Whether that be a skin-related blemish or a defect in the scenery of a photo that one simply wants to remove in order to achieve the “perfect look”, digital photos simply tend to look too clean and unrealistically flawless. Photographs taken on an analog camera undergo a process called photographic processing in order to be developed. This means that after the photograph is taken and is processed in the camera it is no longer able to be modified.

Due to the unalterable nature of these photos, they over time often accumulate texture and grit or stochastic resonance that you cannot obtain with digital photos. These components better explain why some actually prefer analog photography over digital, one theory professes that this is because we humans are naturally imperfect and we are habituated to flaws and blemishes. Thus, seeing these imperfections in photographs is very much relatable and attracts us to its naturalistic elements.

Color and Emotion

Color plays an imperative role in our psychology and emotions. Color psychology is a branch of study that strives to determine how certain colors e.g. red, orange, and yellow which are traditionally warmer colors tend to make us feel warm or aggressive or how other colors e.g. green and blue can make us feel calm or depressed. That being said, when we apply color to photos they drastically affect the emotions that come with it.

Unlike digital cameras which capture one of three primary colors, most analog cameras tend to have a natural hint of blue filter— some even have red or yellow filters. This helps explain why some associate photos captured with an analog camera with nostalgia, sadness, and calming sensations. Color influences emotion.

Nostalgia and Memory Associations

Taking it one step further from the idea that colors influence emotions, we can delve into the concept that emotions such as nostalgia, especially, are notorious when looking back on older photos as they are linked to memory associations.

This may seem like a given, but when humans feel an emotion that is associated with a memory, a part of their brain called the amygdala becomes activated. This aspect of color and emotion delineates how much of an impact analog photography can have on our brain physiology.

Lack of Editing and its Unalterable Nature

The era of technology has generated a highly editable world in which users are constantly altering and concealing things across multiple platforms. Blockchain, on the other hand, has made it virtually impossible to alter or hack the system which is why it is extremely valuable in distributing photos (or any information) across entire networks.

Similarly, analog photography works in this exact manner. As mentioned in the texture and grittiness section, after taking a photograph using an analog camera the photo is unable to be amended, and in other words, it solidifies the moment captured, along with its blemishes and flaws, and is impossible in altering or concealing it.

Despite the several advantages of analog photography, one factor that digital photographers seldom have to face is the fact that over the years many photographs tear, warp, and become damaged. Even though stochastic resonance may be a component as to why some enjoy analog photography, too much white noise (otherwise known as grain), could result in an unviewable image. That is why it is important to use the best photo restoration service, to ensure that your beautiful photographs can stay intact for years to come.

Digital and analog photography both have their own benefits, and digital photography is certainly at its peak usage today. But when deciding between the two, one shouldn’t completely eliminate analog photography, as it is evidently a highly suitable form of capturing astounding photos. So next time you visit your grandparent’s house and glance over the silly pictures of your parents, try to acknowledge the beauty in each photo and the incredible influence analog photography obtains.