Last weekend I got caught up on this blog up through May, with my rendition of Only You, by Yaz. This month, I’m getting caught up through June with images from the last few rolls of film, which I shot throughout April, May and June–and maybe one or two frames in early April.
Since picking up a film camera again last year, I’ve really fallen in love with it. I didn’t realize how easy ‘photography’ had become for me, and I just kind of wanted it to be hard again. While many skills in digital photography translate to film photography, many critical ones do not.
For example, I have a keen sense of how an image will turn out when I turn the ISO on the digital camera way up, but I’m largely in the dark when I switch from an ASA400 to an ASA800 film. For now, I’m mostly just guessing at how it will turn out. Likewise, when I shoot digitally, I like to meter light for the overall scene, while my film cameras both have light meters that are center weighted—meaning, it reports a proper exposure for whatever is right in the middle of the frame. While I have an intuitive sense for proper metering, it’s approximate when it comes to film. None of these things are complaints of course—they’re the point. Ultimately, I am enjoying waiting patiently to find out if my intuition was right and see the results of my experiments.
One of the most charming things about film is that, from a technical standpoint, it’s a very specific process that must be followed, and there is little if any room for deviation from it. Once the film goes into the camera, it doesn’t come back out until it’s done. And when it does come back out, it must be done so exactly right, or else it’ll mess with the results of the final image—in the most amazing ways. I got a healthy portion of that in these rolls of film.
First, one of my cameras has a consistent light leak in the bottom right, which you’ll see in a bunch of these images. And, second, I botched one of these rolls of film, accidentally exposing it to light before fully winding it up to remove from the camera. Dodge-Chrome in Silver Spring saved it as best they could. In the end, botching the roll did some fantastic things to some of these images, so I’ve included them.
For me, a roll of film may take weeks to finish. I tend to bring it along with me on portrait sessions for clients and if the mood strikes me, I pull it out and try to get one or two nice frames. Since I’ve been getting my bearings, I’m considering doing a dedicated portrait project on film to burn through a couple of rolls in one shot.
In other news, I’ve also just come upon a couple of old film enlargers, courtesy of a recent wedding client. When I have some time and space, I’ll see if I can make some of my own prints.