I found this old roll of film stuffed in a camera bag and forgot to have it processed until now. An old roll of Kodak Portra 400 (I’m pretty sure it was expired even before it was exposed) that had somehow been buried at the bottom of a bag. I’ve sent film out to be processed at least 3-4 times since then and this roll never went along. It was shot with my trusty Hasselblad 501CM that I don’t use nearly enough but always amazes me when I look at the results I get with it.
Like I mentioned a few days ago with The Lost Roll, this is something I really love about film. I love that it’s a real thing that I created, and that is still there if I forget about it. It’s genuine, it’s tactile, and it has character. That’s the point that many who are caught up in the “faux retro” craze don’t quite get, in my opinion. While I use Hipstamatic more than most people when I shoot on my phone (mostly because I don’t like the lifeless images that come from the iPhone’s 24mm lens), it’s not the same. Film almost has a personality, and how you treat it before, during, and after exposure changes it in very definite ways. While there have always been tricks in the darkroom to enhance certain aspects of an image, or disguise others, the level of manipulation that is possible today is both far greater and far simpler to achieve. Many times, it’s as easy as a few clicks to have drastically altered an image beyond recognition.
For me, the tones of film are awesome. So is the process of shooting it. As I recently mentioned, I bought a digital camera again (the Olympus OMD) since the convenience of digital cannot be denied, and the image quality that is possible with digital sensors is now pretty stunning. Sharing images is easier when they are digitized since we all live online now (except for some of the older generation–I still get digital images printed, and sent in the mail from my grandparents) and scanning is tedious and can be expensive if not done at home.
The photo above is of my son Max, now nearly a year older than he was in that photograph. It’s amazing how much things change, and in the time it’s been since I took the image a great deal of digital cameras have been released and become obsolete. But the negative of the day we took my camera for a walk in the snow remains unchanged. Static in an ever-changing world. I read an interview recently where someone said that the difference between a Luddite and a tech geek is about six months nowadays. In every pithy comment there is a shred of truth.
Sometimes it feels good to not keep up with the newest stuff. My Hasselblad is capable of some incredible images, and I should get out and use it more often. Slow down and not share the images instantly. Slow down and not replace it with a new model. Slow down and just…enjoy.