Modern Photography – A documentary that explores the stories of those committed to using film in modern day photography.

Modern Photography (2021)
Director: Alex Contell, Tommaso Sacconi
Stars: Daniel Arnold, Geoffrey Berliner, Dave Bias
Genre: Documentary
Country: United States
Language: English
Also Known As: Grain
Release Date: November 15, 2021 (United States)

Whether it’s a fashion house seeking to bring a new edge to their creative work, an amateur perusing eBay for the perfect vintage Polaroid, or an influencer attempting to capture a comforting return aesthetic on social media, analog photography has piqued the interest of people everywhere.

Is this resurgence a backlash against digital photography? Is it just a trend perpetuated by our desire for authenticity in an increasingly superficial world? Or is it something else entirely?

We’ve spent a lot of time and money photographing in analog. And we began to question why. Why were we opting for the most expensive, complex way of approaching photography? Why were we choosing to forego the benefits of digital to use old technology that is all too vulnerable to human error? What’s the point? Doesn’t it all end up on instagram anyway?

As we considered this, we realized that there must be others dwelling on this same conflict. We were compelled to understand the bigger picture, to hear how other photographers have remained committed to analog even with its challenging intricacies. The seed was planted. And a film was born.

We’ve gathered different points of view from established photographers and art institutions, and told their stories through a combination of cinema verite and cinematic shots.

Grain is a feature film by Alex Contell and Tommaso Sacconi that celebrates analog photography by showing its ups and downs in real-world scenarios and tells the story of artistic commitment, discovery and romance.

„I should preface this review by saying I’m an ardent film photographer who owns double digit film cameras ranging from plastic point and shoots to a medium format Hasselblad 500 C/M. I’ve been a serious photographer since the late 1980s when Mom got me the best gift ever with a Nikon FM2n that I still regularly use 35 years later. It’s literally been around the world with me. So, it’s safe to say that I’m the target audience for a documentary about people’s undying love of analogue film and I may have turned a blind eye to flaws because I was lost in the shared community I felt while watching the documentary.

Grain looks into the recent upswing in film and film cameras by younger people (which makes me so, so happy) and all the beautiful ways that make film unpredictable and satisfying and timeless and challenging to use. Shooting analogue, for me, requires patience, it makes me slow down and be thoughtful. It’s not a process of shooting a hundred fotos and deleting or editing most of them. I like to take a single foto of something, just one. If I screw up the foto, I screw it up. It’s my fault. Sure, maybe I could fix it in some program but I’m a bit of a Luddite and just want my images with no cropping, no corrections. I want to produce images with the camera, not the computer. Ultimately, shooting analogue is a system of romance. I’m nothing if not a romantic who loves the tactile pleasure of selecting a film, loading it in the camera, looking through the small viewfinder and pressing the shutter button and hearing one of the greatest sounds in the world as the aperture opens and closes. Magic. Grain makes me proud I’ve continued to hold onto my idealistic analogue ideologies against my beating heart all these years.”
– written by „Joshua Blevins Peck” on


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