I spent the past few days away in Crail on the East Coast of Scotland with some good friends.
I ended up taking about five cameras with me, which was a trimmed down number from what I would have really liked to have done… but luckily sensibilities have crept in as I’ve gotten older.
Of course, more cameras means more films.. which means more time to process, develop and scan them when you do it all yourself in your bathroom. When you can only realistically do two reels of medium format at a time, this can draw the whole procedure out over a few days; sucking the fun out of it a bit.
The race to have all our photos available instantly and straight away so they can be consumed online on social networking sites by others to try and persuade them that we have a life… that we are interesting and important and must have depth somewhere seems almost expected and in-built into us nowadays. If something isn’t reported or status-updated within a certain timeframe after it’s happened then it becomes irrelevant and feels almost pointless. I’m reacting to that.
Some of the greatest photos I’ve ever found were those on spools that have sat on my shelf for months on end without being touched – when the images finally were brought to light they seemed even more amazing. When I was scanning through hundreds of old negatives from when I was young I came across a couple of frames that had been missed by the photolab at the time, and I literally had to stop for a few minutes.. These pictures, these memories were there in visual form right in front of me, appearing right from the depths of my insides and they could have been gone forever.
It’s probably a good thing that I can’t do too many films at once with the developing tanks I’ve got.
Part of the joy of shooting film is the process of it all; the investment of time, care and energy into each roll that renders that moment where you see the image appear on-screen as it gets scanned slowly (or on paper, but I don’t ever do wet prints) so magical – as if you’re plucking memories out of your mind like whisps, and capturing them forever. Digital just doesn’t have that.
For that reason, I’m going to relish in developing, scanning and uploading the pictures as slow as I want… and not worry about having to make sure that they keep up with the pace of my life.
All of the above pictures were shot on a Polaroid Landcam Automatic with Polaroid 669 film that expired in 2005.