Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fun, Film, and Failures

I have learned a great many things this week, not only about film photography, developing, and printing, but about my personality as well. First, I have to say that when it comes to photography, I'm a big fan of digital. I really like being able to see what I'm doing and adjust as I go before I actually take the picture. In some ways, I also like the lack of permanency-- the whole concept of "oh, wow, that's an ugly photo... I'll just delete it!" So film has forced me to slow down and think about things that I normally don't think about. The fact that it's permanent in that way, and so you get essentially one chance (per exposure) makes it that much more exciting. I also have to say that I find developing and printing to be very relaxing. It's like yoga for my brain. Sometimes I guess its nice to be pleasantly surprised by your own work.
In talking about failures, I have to say that film has taught me that I am not patient with myself when I mess up. My first three rolls of film, quite frankly, were awful. And it was really discouraging. But when I finally figured out what I was doing wrong, and I got two gorgeous rolls of negatives (which I'm printing today) out of it, I have to say, I have never been that excited about anything digital. Except maybe the Man with the Octopus Tattoo.
Anyway, I think what I've really learned these last two weeks in photography is that film really teaches you everything you need to know about digital: aperture, shutter speed, f-stops. All of those things that digital "auto" mode takes care of for us, that we should probably start taking back into our own hands. Film teaches patience, and how to look at a failure, reload the camera with more film, and make new mistakes, or maybe, a perfect negative.