Rediscovering Film Photography – #52PicsProject
A few weeks ago in a spur-of-the-moment purge of crap we have stored around our place I came across my old Minolta X-700 SLR film camera. I hadn’t used this camera for 15 years. Still enclosed in its leather case, the camera seemed in perfect condition. Most intriguing though, there was a half-shot film still inside. A film I must have shot before I gave up this camera for its more modern digital counterparts. Using its manual rewind we were able to salvage the film with the hope of having it developed. And so began the best part of what was film photography before its digital revolution – the anticipation of waiting for your photos to be developed and the excitement and slight nervousness when you went to pick them up. Would my photos have worked out? Was my exposure right? Are they nicely composed? And then the exquisite joy of flipping through your photos one-by-one.
And what did I find? Family photos taken fifteen years ago including some of children who are now adults off exploring their own worlds, making their own way.
Back in the early nineties before digital was so ubiquitous I enrolled in a photography class with the Australian Centre for Photography to learn how to use my recently purchased, second-hand SLR film camera. For 8 weeks I trudged to Paddington on Tuesday night to unlock the secrets of film photography. Each night we would learn more about our cameras and this particular kind of alchemy. We would share and critique the photos we had taken the week before and receive our assignments for the coming week. And then for the next 3-4 days I would venture out with my new/old camera with a 24 exposure film. That’s just 24 photos. Now with digital cameras it’s not unusual for me to take 300 photos in one session. But I think something has been lost. Film photography made us better photographers. More thoughtful, more measured. We couldn’t afford to waste shots. They were expensive to have developed. We learnt our craft and knew the technicalities of photography as well as the art. You learnt to trust your instinct.
So while the #52PicsProject is supposed to showcase photos I’ve taken in the last week, today I present you with photos taken fifteen years ago and only discovered now. Silver-gelatin evoking long-held memories which in hindsight seem like simpler times. A priceless time-capsule. And hopefully a sense of solidarity and continuity with the past.
When: Sometime in 2002
Why: I discovered a half-used film in my old Minolta X-700 SLR film camera. Film has a certain quality you don’t find in digital. If you can find a film camera give it a go. Film is becoming more and more popular. Like the renaissance we are seeing with vinyl records, we seem to be harking back to the past more and more. Because of this, film and film processing labs are becoming easier to find.
Camera: Minolta X-700 35mm SLR film camera
Rewind Photo Lab
Shop 4/2-12 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe, NSW – they have a mail-in service if you can’t physically get there
Phone: (02) 804 170 49