I remember the first time I got my hands on a camera. It was my sister’s first Canon; a 500D, a star in its field back in 2011. My curiosity was risen by the shutter sound I heard every time she’d take a snippet of something around her. I would see real-life stories, unscripted -like filters were nonexistent- come to creation with the click of a button.

“How long did it take Niépce to find a way to store these moments?”

“In what way exactly did James Maxwell introduce color photography to humanity?”

“How did people back then react to the creation of the first photograph?”

To this very day, I still find the idea of freezing certain moments in one’s life into a photographic, tangible form quite difficult to fathom and mind-blowing. It’s funny how we take cameras for granted, how we overlook them as household devices when in fact, they are tools of time-travel.

To dig deeper into this, I figured the following: life isn’t a Back To The Future trilogy and a time machine has not been invented yet; but there must be a way to piece the puzzle of defining the making of a photograph as an art. That’s exactly when my passion for film photography started.

Zina Qabbani (lifeinanalogue), Tripoli, Lebanon, 2015


I’d just started experimenting with my Polaroid. I was fascinated, being previously aware of only the digital nature of photos because that’s what the era was all about. It was the peak of technological acquisition, and almost everyone around me has already adapted to solely digital photography. I loved the thrill of waiting for the alkaline in the film to react to light, and see what colors, gestures and angles the blank paper fades into. Amidst the excitement over having a piece of the past always carried around with me, a massive part of me felt that there was more to see. The risk and craft required to master film photography were still qualities I had to work on, and hands-on experience equipped with the works of worldwide photographic icons was what I needed.

Zina Qabbani (lifeinanalogue), Berlin, Germany


A few lomographic and manual cameras later, I was close to letting my interest in film go down the drain. It felt too difficult, too hopeless for me to go after; like nobody even recognized where their family album treasures came from anymore. By that time, I’d already heard too many “No, we no longer develop pictures” and received numerous odd facial expressions. The search for the perfect set to begin shooting with film was kept on standby till the end of my senior year.

Zina Qabbani (lifeinanalogue), Berlin, Germany, 2017


My first time in Berlin, a capital of the arts; the honeypot of diversity. Spending a month there exploring the underground atmosphere of Kreuzberg and the uptown madness of Mitte; reminded me of why taking pictures is not only a love to pursue, but somehow an important duty to fulfill to one’s soul. I had stumbled upon a disposable Kodak and I could feel my eyes glisten and my heart leap from joy. Holding it and being able to use it during the most spectacular time of my life, in a city like no other; for me that was what taking pictures was all about. For that, I had to bring this perseverance to revive film photography here in Jordan; to save it from its gradual death and embrace it. There was a route I had to take in order to open a door for a wider audience to be exposed to film photography again, and for its memory to stay generation after generation.

Zina Qabbani (lifeinanalogue), Qornet Al Sawad, Lebanon, 2016

Technology is inevitable. It is a vital ingredient for human progression to stay intact. However, it is an inspirational experience for one to go back and explore how things fell into place in the past; how resources were allocated for making ease of access a possible achievement, not so far from reach. As citizens of this 21st Century, we select and chose according to high definition qualities, battery life spans and screen clarity. I feel the idea of film and its development deviates from that, and lets us open the doors of our minds to search for what gives the most value to our stories, rather than just how sharp an image appears to be.

The way that photographs form a network of links from one person to another is just as wonderful as thinking of how one song can bring the entire world together with the sing-alongs of a common lyric. The concept also applies to a huge number of people familiarizing themselves with the tone of a picture; a shared story, a similar strife. That is exactly why we need to always see the bigger picture; we need to interpret origin. We need to bring back the importance of origin in photography and keep it breathing in a globe of rapid diversion and advancement that sometimes, rushes us so fast, that in the end, we lose the map of paths we held onto. Patience and peace of mind are the binoculars we need in order to appreciate the process of photographical development. Just like learning to cherishing the small things, waiting for that Kodak picture to reveal its wonders at the photo lab round the curb is a form of happiness yet to be discovered.

All images courtesy of lifeinanalogue