Today after the first of my four uni exams I met up with Gorbot and Al, two photographers that manage to pull off the feat of being really decent people first and foremost, but who also take some of the best pictures around. It seems to be a bit of a quandary.
What was meant to be a brief visit to ease Al into the world of DIY film developing turned into a 5 and a half hour stint at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s – picked for its reputed ‘good light’. The shock of all of this being that I wasn’t drinking. Not one drop. I’m still on the mend, and the thought of alcohol didn’t sit right with my mumped-up face.
Despite Gorbot scaring off some girls with his less-than-subtle photo-taking (which is the subject for another post..), I got to witness his film organisation technique.
After every film, he would remove it and put a sticky label on the cannister with the camera, location, date and lens. Well, most of the time. The rest of the time he’d aim high for this ideal, but actually leave the film out and forget which camera it had come from. Impressive.
It seemed extremely organised to me, but as he explained, it was a necessity due to his slack approach to processing.. with 30 or so films waiting to be developed at present; from being shot it might take 6-8 months for him to get round to actually getting the spools done.
This seems totally alien to me, as someone who can’t wait to process the film straight away as soon as it’s wound back into the cannister.
I remember that a while ago I used to keep a camera with a film loaded and shoot a few photos at a time over a long period of weeks or months.. when I finally finished it off and got it developed, it was amazing to see the pictures that I’d forgotten about.
Recently someone else spoke about how they would shoot a reel and then leave it on their shelf for a whole year before processing, just to make each shot more subjective and special.
A lot of people express the idea that they wish they could forget their pictures so they could look at them afresh – see them as someone else might. Maybe to go some way towards that, the whole purposefully leaving films before processing is a good idea.
I still think that I’m going to have a difficulty with this – as I’ve said before, I can’t imagine not having photos from particular events or happenings processed quickly after the fact… but maybe that’s the wrong attitude. Maybe I need to let go of the desire for almost-instant gratification and even not worry so much about other people’s desire for the same thing..
I’m going to try it.. I’m just not sure whether it’ll be with the reel from tonight or not. Speaking of which, it’s a wise idea to not trust your film-loading skills when drunk. Turns out that after I’d been snapping away, it wasn’t actually winding on at all.. Blast. The danger of course is that I’ve actually already finished the film and rewound it but not completely back into the spool, but forgotten.. resulting in some crazy double exposures. I really hope not, but we’ll need to wait and see.
In a testament to old pictures, this post is littered with Neopan 1600 shots from not-so-random times in the past.