my first love.
if you’re old enough you’ll remember cameras that only took film, you’ll remember having 3-4 rolls or even bags of film from vacations to drop off to get developed. you’ll remember the wait and anticipation to pick them up days or even up to a week later. you might remember forgetting you had images to pick up, and they’d be there for you – your captured moments to relive months later. or you’d forget you had exposed the first half of the roll in the camera with no idea what was on it.
those are my memories of film as a child and teenager. the smell of the empty canisters, the naughty desire to pull the tab and just expose the roll to see what it looked like. the excitement to open the packages and see what came out and what didn’t.
in high school I modeled a bit and I remember getting film contact sheets to see my proofs. 8×10 prints from sessions shot with film. thinking back on it – that was pretty cool.
it was also in high school that I developed my first rolls. the darkroom was a magical place. the science, the waiting, the enlarging, the magic of seeing the paper release the images in the solution bath. I think that was when cupids photography arrow hit me. seeing an image come up on a “blank” piece of paper – and knowing that the image is something you wanted to capture is a moment you don’t forget. doing it now in a local darkroom with a full understanding of what’s taking place gives me the same childlike sense of awe.
while I love the instant ability to see and adjust my images with my digital bodies, there is just something about shooting with film. this weekend I rented a Hasselblad 503 cm, and finally loaded my own Mamiya c300. Swedish and Japanese medium format film cameras. I shot three rolls of 120 film – each has only 12 exposures. you have to think, plan and get it right, because what you’re working with is finite. the images will be square (yay!!) 6cm x 6cm, and the negatives can be scanned so that I can adjust my files digitally. while I love dodging and burning, and reprinting in a darkroom – I don’t always have time, and it can take a lot of time.
I love the very mechanical nature of both of these camera. the winding and loud “clunk – clunk” of the shutter on the Hasselblad. there is nostalgia and history baked into every shot.
I can’t wait to see what comes of my initial attempts, and to decide if the Hassy is a body the will work for me. cameras are like handbags – when is enough enough? teehee
film. it’s making a come back – but it’s always been my first love.