Why is film photography, particularly black and white film photography, undergoing a resurgence? The reasons are many and you may enroll in (Re) Discover Black and White Film for any of them.
Wet-process methods were the only way to create photographs for most of history. To understand the challenges and choices photographers made prior to the digital era, you need to do wet-chemistry photography, just as you need to take a laboratory course to understand the science or a studio class to understand an art medium.
Film offers a variety of hybrid digital-analog workflows. A film negative can be scanned to then be digitally processed and printed. Conversely, a digital capture can produce an inkjet negative used to contact print on light-sensitive photographic paper or burn a photopolymer plate or a photo emulsion screen for screen printing.
Film photography also gives you the foundation to explore other alternative processes such as cyanotypes (a relatively easy process) to more challenging wet-plate processes such as wet-plate collodian, tintype, ambrotype, or salt albumin printing.
Photographers today continue to work in film and related wet-processes. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Reconfigured Reality: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection (closed Nov 12, 2017) had works by Wisconsin's own Shimon & Lindeman, Alec Soth, and Paul Baker Prindle, who all choose to use large format film or other wet-process image captures.
Last and the most nebulous, film provides a different "look" to an image.
PhotoMidwest's (Re) Discover Black and White Film class will start you on your journey and give you the training to use one of the few wet darkrooms in Madison.