The one thing that I really love about shooting film, that is really missing with digital photography for me, is the waiting. The time between shooting and processing is a welcome delay. Because I have a mind that easily forgets what I shot, and when the roll is finally processed, I have a surprise waiting for me. Or 12 or 36 of them.
I was just talking to a neighbor and he saw me with an old Olympus Pen half-frame camera I found in my car when I was cleaning it out. It didn’t work, and I was trying to get it to–no luck. He saw the camera and said he had an old Nikon F2 with some great lenses. He said he hadn’t used it for years. I said load a roll of film, and even if it takes a year to shoot, when it’s done and back from the lab (or hand-processed), there will be memories to see that he had completely forgotten about. With digital, if I shoot your photograph, then show you on the screen, all the wonder and enjoyment is done. Now I just have that tedious task of exporting it to a file and getting it to you. But there’s no more wonder. That’s why with digital I never show anyone what I just shot–it kills the ability to share it with them when it’s finished, and they’ve forgotten a little about it.
The photos from a long-ago shot roll of film look familiar, but there’s the puzzle in your head, where you try to remember what they were, who they were with, etc. There’s the delight in finding a really special image that you didn’t even realize was on there, and it’s one of your favorites. Maybe of all time. Just waiting there for you to discover.
These three photos I shot while walking to the post office a year ago. I was carrying a Nikon F100 with a 50mm f2 lens. Completely forgot about them, and probably thought they wouldn’t look like anything when I shot them. Then the film was finished and I feel like I captured a little piece of a Norman Rockwell childhood. Three of my favorite shots. Kids playing a jumping game with a branch. Who would’ve thought? A delightful surprise, as delightful as their smiles.
It’s Christmas morning!