Photographic films yesterday and today

Photographic film, is the first medium used to record images of the invention of photography. Many people believe that the film had its day by the arrival of digital photography, but they could not be more wrong.

What the simple movie in English? Many people ask me, especially since almost all articles are designed to impress people who do not know the chemistry. So I tried to “translate” the essence of definition into the English plain: photographic film is a sheet of this plastic, coated with a mixture of light-sensitive chemicals (silver halide salts) bound by gelatin. The size of the silver halide salt crystals determines the sensitivity, contrast and resolution of the film. The color film usually contains three layers of crystal salt, while the black and white film usually contains a single layer. This is a very basic description and, of course, it is not very technical. It is intended for normal people who have not studied chemistry and I think it is clear enough to be understood by all.

The first film to be made use of by the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, we have to give thanks in part the invention of photography. His “film”, if you can call it that, was made with a polished pewter plate coated with Judea bitumen “an oil derivative. Exposure to the bitumen light is hardened and, after exposure, the uncured material can be washed and after polishing, the plate was ready to be printed. Finished a plate that looked a lot like when used in offset printing: the polished plate could be pressed onto an ink pad and an image can be printed on a sheet of paper. Intriguing is not everything!

The film has recently been replaced by memory cards, so the question is: what is the importance of photographic film today? Many people think it is not important at all, but they tell me it is very important. A photographic tour of a movie is simply true: this is where you can touch and record it in the drawer of your desk. An electronic image is a ghost that is there now and two seconds later, it will disappear, leaving no trace of its existence. Last week, I went with my family on a day trip. I shot about 120 images and suddenly towards the end of the day, my memory card is corrupted. Not only was I not able to draw, but I had lost all 120 photos … just disappeared. Technically speaking, a digital image has serious negative aspects of the film. One is the inability to play strong points: try to take a photo of a sunset and you will see that most of the very bright areas are just a white hole with very few details. Do the same with a photographic film and see the difference. I personally prefer to use real cinema, but the technology has led me and it is hard to come back for several reasons, the cost of the movie being the main one.