Saturday, August 11, 2007

Side by side

i've missed you film, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

How I've missed film. When I lugged two children and about 10 rolls of film into the lobby of my preferred pro lab it all came flooding back.

The magic that is photography.

A feeling.

A wordless wisdom that almost blindly catches a moment and holds it in ways you may not have intended or perhaps even noticed.

It's something digital doesn't do in the same way.

Digital has made me understand what instant gratification really means. Film makes you wait. It forces you to be judicious. It makes you pay otherwise. It also makes you remember things you might never have seen.

The thing is, I only shot a few rolls of film during the last week. The rest I found by going through boxes and drawers and glove compartments in several cars. What I found were six or so overheated, overdue, overlooked rolls to bring along for the ride.

I didn't have much hope for finding long lost gems. The rolls from last year or from 10 years ago didn't get developed for a reason. Mostly the images were sure to be afterthoughts. I didn't finish the roll and it stayed in the camera. It was last ditch efforts, usually not worthy of a second look. They were just because.

When the contact sheets came back there were amazing litle memories I'd completely forgotten. There were photographs from magazine jobs and weddings, there were pictures from my old apartment.

But somehow, years later, these trigger-happy castoffs seemed valuable even in their imperfection; perhaps because of their faults.

One roll from seven years ago contained a photograph of Jed holding a metal snow saucer, standing in front of Ledig House with Maggie by his side. We'd gone sledding with the dogs down the big hill despite only a smattering of snow that year. It was an old-time looking frame with a weird light-leak and funky coloring.

He wants me to make a larger print of it to hang in the house. He said he felt as if he were looking at his own father standing in front of the Captain's Walk . Timeless even while time passes.

It's made me want to keep my old Nikon as more than a paperweight. Keep it loaded and ready for a shot or two as an afterthought. Perhaps once every few years send off the rolls to see what, if any, treasures await.


Leeanthro said...

I feel like my photos have suffered since going digital. I don't take the time to compose or think about depth of field. I've forgotten how to shoot except on auto mode. BUT, with a 3-year-old (and not a 3-month-old) I don't know if I have the time to do anything but snap away. They're too quick to keep up with. I do miss my 25-year-old Pentax manual camera!

Buffy said...

That contrast is amazing.

And the children are gorgeous.

Redneck Mommy said...

I so understand this post.

It resonates.

And, as always, your shots are FACKING brilliant.

I'm trying hard not to be jealous...

Gail said...

A piece of my Pentax K-1000 fell off a little while ago, and it's taken me ages to finish a roll. I need to finish the roll and get that thing developed! Thanks for the reminder!