Why Film Photography: Collecting Memories

Part 1: A Return to Film in Contemporary Art Photography

In recent times, many contemporary artists in the field have revisited film photography, opting for it over digital methods. Each photographer may have their unique reasons for this choice, such as the qualities of colour, contrast, grain, and the distinct process of shooting on film. Through the examples of works by Russian photographer Galya Budagova, we aim to understand why she has embraced analog photography as her primary artistic medium.

Part 2: Photography as a Recollection

Galya Budagova specialises in a genre known as “photo diary,” where photography serves as a means of recollection. Consequently, her works often appear abstract and hazy, featuring silhouettes, unconventional colours, and photographs with a certain barrier or veil between the subject and the viewer. Achieving such effects through digital photography is notoriously challenging and often results in artificial processes. Film photography, on the other hand, offers the possibility of these effects, including the significant element of imperfection. Budagova’s works frequently exhibit light leaks, scratches, and irregular, torn edges, symbolising the imperfection inherent in memory.

Part 3: The Artistry in Film Photography

Working with film, unlike digital photography, is a process that extends beyond the act of taking a photograph; it encompasses preparation and in-the-moment creativity. Galya employs various techniques to manipulate her film-based images. For instance, she manages contrast, tension, and drama in her photos by intentionally shooting film at sensitivities higher or lower than the recommended levels. Another intriguing and less commonly used technique involves the use of cinema film, a more cost-effective material primarily designed for filmmaking but compatible with many film cameras. Galya frequently incorporates such film into her work, achieving unique, intricate colours and imagery through unconventional application.

In summary, Galya Budagova’s choice of film photography as her artistic medium is motivated by its ability to evoke the essence of memory and recollection, its capacity to embrace imperfections, and the artistry it allows her to infuse into every step of the photographic process. Film photography, for Budagova, is more than a technique; it is a means to capture the essence of moments, emotions, and experiences, making her work a compelling exploration at the intersection of art and memory.