After living in the digital world of images for a long time, I figured it was about time to let film do the talking. Recently my brother-in-law offered to lend me his 35mm film camera. He brought it over and I let it sit on my desk for a few weeks. It looked old and out of place next to my slick flat panel monitor. Where does one even buy film anymore? Turns out Amazon has got us amateurs covered. I kept it on the cheap side, 4 rolls for $10.99 (Fujifilm 1014258 Superia X-TRA 400 35mm Film). Once the film arrived, I actually had to go on YouTube to learn how to load a film camera. It doesn’t get more beginner than that. The camera had a very easy learning curve and despite never having shot film before, I have been looking through lenses for the past fifteen years so thing became clear fast. Once I got the hang of it, I took it for a walk around Hollywood. Here’s what came out of the camera:
Unlike most of the images I have shot thus far with my DSLR, these are unaltered, unedited and un-cropped. I took the 4 rolls to a lab down the street (this place), paid $56 and hoped for the best.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with the results of my walk around Hollywood. Perhaps the credit goes to the lab but I can’t help it but enjoy the colors and feel of these photographs. There is nothing glamorous about them and that’s what I like the most.
It took all of four rolls to turn me into a film photography fan. There is something special about having a wholly mechanical object in your hands, an object that doesn’t make you feel stupid for not knowing its 1001 menu functions. “We don’t need no stinkin’ menu!” would have said the bandito in Treasure of The Sierra Madre.
Granted, film photography may not be cost effective, but I think it must be considered a whole different experience from its digital counterpart. You can’t imagine the joy I experienced when I saw the photos and realized I didn’t have to sit in front of my computer with Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to manipulate them. I take no pleasure in doing that. As a matter of fact, I am taking less and less pleasure from looking at screens in general.
By the time I became interested in motion picture and subsequently photography, film was already on its way out. If you started navigating in the world of truly independent cinema some fifteen years ago, it was hard to make the case for celluloid when Panasonic had already come out with the DVX 100.
In conclusion, in a world that becomes more and more complicated with each innovation, I took some comfort in playing around with a little box that didn’t talk back to me!