Sunday, April 13, 2014

for the love of film

When I think about things I was interested in when I was a teenager, I can't remember many of them. I don't know if I really even had many to be honest, aside from trying to be as different to everyone else and difficult as I possibly could, I didn't have a lot of hobbies. I wasn't into sport and I didn't have the patience for playing an instrument (though I did play the clarinet for three years when I was in primary school because I thought I needed to be 'well rounded', but as soon as I got to middle school and grew a side fringe that went out the window). But when I turned sixteen my sister-in-law gave me her old film SLR camera, a 90's Canon EOS, and I think that's when I finally developed a passion.

I love film photography, it has a certain warmth that digital photography doesn't. The grain and the colour tones have a kind of otherworldly feel that you just can't get from digital photos without churning them through Photoshop. Looking at film prints invokes a certain kind of nostalgia and reminds me of being a kid and waiting with my mum for the one hour photo place to finish developing the pictures from our latest family adventure. I shot all of my Year 12 photography assessment work on film, and a lot of people didn't really get why I did it, which I think is understandable because it was expensive as hell (the school had turned its old wet lab into a portrait studio so I had to have all of my rolls developed professionally) and it was probably a lot more effort on my part because I didn't have the luxury of going out, shooting, putting it all on a computer and if it hadn't worked, being able to delete it, go out and reshoot, or just photoshop the life out of the images - I had to get everything right the first time or else lose a roll of film and the money it cost to have it processed. Luckily I was able to pilfer all of the old, unused rolls of film left over from when the school hadn't switched to entirely digital cameras - I don't think I paid for a single roll of film that year, and believe me, I used a LOT of rolls.

I don't get to shoot as much film as I used to anymore, partly out of laziness, partly out of forgetfulness, and partly out of a lack of inspiration. I used to take my film camera everywhere with me, but now all of those free rolls are gone, and film is becoming increasingly difficult to get a hold of, and that's if you can find somewhere that'll develop it without charging an astronomical amount. It makes me sadder than anything to imagine a world without film, and I feel like I need to start stockpiling rolls for when I have children so that I might be able to share my passion with them. 

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