Going Back to Film (An Update)

Aida at the Park back before digital
Aida at the Park back before digital

I have mentioned many times before how much I was into photography back before digital existed. Despite film and developing costs subsuming all my allowance money, I still took tons of photos. Three years ago, I decided to check out the film photography renaissance. In April I got my first batch of film and a Holga. And soon I had shot some photos. And a few weeks later I had my Holga and Yashica film back.  And since then I’ve … not shot very many more rolls of film. There are a few reasons for this; some of them don’t even have to do directly with film. For example, I’m just taking less photos in general. A lot of that has to do with Scarlett. I have lots of photos of other kids in the family because you can hang back when it’s not your kid. You don’t have to worry about anything- someone else is taking care of him or her. But children, at least at the toddler and below stage, require a lot of attention. Also, I want to be present in her life. In order to photograph you have to withdraw a bit. And that’s fine when they’re five or six and off playing on the playground on their own. But Scarlett needs our assistance and attention to be able to use pretty much any part of the playground. Indirectly, because I have a desire to play with her in a way that my father couldn’t (his 9-5 rarely ended at 5), I have to be a better manager of my time. And I have committed to writing more this year. And there are some games I want to play. And there’s TV and time with the wife. Also, I am traveling less and I don’t happen to find Baltimore anywhere near as photogenic as New York city or Oahu.

Daniel at Breakfast (Shot with a Yashica-A)
Daniel at Breakfast (Shot with a Yashica-A)

But to go to the directly film-related reasons: First of all there’s cost. Certain financial circumstances have put film out of reach for the time being. But second, if I were to get my hands on the film, there are less and less places to develop the film. I prefer local places to online in order to reduce shipping fees and to minimize the chances of the film being lost. (Which would set me back both the cost of the film and the captured memories) I used to take my photos to L’Imagerie and that has closed. Now I go to Chrome, but it’s so far away that it adds the cost of time and gas to get there. Additionally, film stock is dwindling. Kodak has stopped making film and I imagine most of the other companies will be following suit soon. Places like Lomography tend to be a lot more expensive as well.

Ironic Model (Danielle shot with a Holga)
Ironic Model (Danielle shot with a Holga)

I think it’s too soon to say I’ve abandoned film forever. I LOVE the look of film; the clean clarity of the Yashica-A or the bold colors that arise from chemical processes. And I’m not the only one since so many people are using those dumb Instagram filters to get the same effect on their cell phone photos. But I think it’ll be a while before I spend some cash just for a look that could be duplicated digitally with some effort.

Pausing at the Rest Area of Bright Angel Trail (Yashica-A at the Grand Canyon)
Pausing at the Rest Area of Bright Angel Trail (Yashica-A at the Grand Canyon)

Author: Eric Mesa

To find out a little more about me, see About Me

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