I will always shoot film as long as it continues to be manufactured. I enjoy alternative processes. I enjoy the tangible nature of film. I enjoy shooting it, and knowing that each frame that advances is precious and often the energy of film’s finite nature transfers to the final picture. I like playing with and manipulating Polaroid emulsion by hand. Nothing in a digital program can take the place of true infrared filmstock or true cross-chemical processing.
I will admit that these chemical processes are not good for the environment. But after seeing the internet documentary Story of Stuff, I realize that digital products are not without their own tolls on our environment and resources. (By the way, everyone should take the time to check out Annie Leonard’s story of stuff.)
But, as I make my foray into the blogging world, I realize the value of digital cameras. I recently purchased a digital Pentax SLR because I’ve used Pentax film cameras for years. (Thank you, Dad, for passing on your love of Pentax to me.) Also, a nice feature is that the digital lenses are also compatible with some of the older film bodies, so I can get dual-use of my lenses. I still have yet to buy a lens, so new digital pictures will be forthcoming. This will be my first experience with a digital SLR and I’m looking forward to it.
But until I get my new lens, I’m still over here, shooting film, but I don’t know how much longer that will be viable. I went to my photo lab yesterday, the photo lab I interned for a few years ago, the bustling photo lab with real-live humans as custom print-makers who were friends of mine. The photo lab that used paper invoices and had fridges stacked with various filmstocks.
But this was no longer my beautiful photo lab. This photo lab’s back rooms where the printmakers once worked was dark and lifeless. There was only one fridge, with a few canisters of film randomly tossed inside. There wasn’t alot going on behind the counter, just a clerk off in a back room, sitting in a white plastic lawn chair with a giant fan blowing air on him. There was no formal paperwork, he simply scratched my name down in a lined notebook.
But there’s still a smile on my face, because on Monday, I will be picking up my Velvia slides, pushed one stop, mounted in slidemounts and each one will be gorgeous. And I don’t really generally remember what the pictures are of and I get all light and giggly with the anticipation of finding out! And I can’t accidentally delete them, there’s no ‘back-up’ to worry about and technology cannot replace them. Those slides are tangible things that I’m going to hold in my hand and project light into and I can’t wait! I’m a film dork, it’s true.
That being said, I plan on interspersing this blog with lots of different mediums – from film to digital and every mix in between. It’s not an issue of what’s better. They are all just different tools.