Old school pics: Rediscovering the joys of film photography

Ryan Berger remembers it well: A trip to Japan with his best friend. The photographs that followed left a lasting impact. 

"When I looked at his images versus my digital images, his images made me remember the trip more vividly than my digital images," Berger said. "It was like visiting the vacation." 

His best friend chronicled their trip with an old-school film camera. Berger decided that his time using digital cameras had come to a close. He wanted to switch to film photography. 
That was three years ago. 

Berger explains that colors are more vivid, the contrast is darker and the natural film grain adds to the photos. 
"Film has a look that can't be replicated," he said.
While photography is not Berger's day job, the mountains of rolls of film in his home would make you think otherwise. Ironically, having a finite number of photos is another reason he enjoys film photography. He says having a limited amount of shots per film roll forces him to spend more time properly composing a shot before pressing the shutter. 
"Going from digital to film, it felt like such a relief to just slow down and not worry about taking 500 photos in a day,” he continued.  “I was happy shooting two rolls of film.”

Also, film rolls cost money -- another reason he says he slows down. 

Berger develops his own film at home, using a dark bag technique. His home is filled with pages of negatives. He says waiting for the film to develop is part of the fun, experiencing the element of surprise once again. 

"Film forces you to print in a way," Berger said. "I remember sitting with my grandmother and my mom and going through photo albums, and we are getting away from that. Part of what pulls me to film is capturing my daughter's life on a film camera."

As for the future, Berger hopes to connect with other film photographers in the area. He thinks the old-school trend is growing. He loves to show people how to use film cameras, even letting them use one from his collection.