everything old is new again
Lately I’ve been nostalgic about technology. Last week I finally started doing some office clean up. I came across a roll of black and white Kodak film, which is no longer made. I have one roll left. I wonder when (and if) I will ever use it.
It actually makes my heart do a a little flutter when I even think about it. It actually, makes me sad. As a photographer in her, um, forties, I started off in college working solely in film, and solely in black and white. I worked tireless hours in the darkroom of the wright art building in Beloit, WI. I spent some of my best college moments, alone in that darkroom: music blaring, creating images. It was cathartic when I had just had fights with a boyfriend, or I needed to be alone (that door locks you know). I miss the way the developer smelled, and the waiting while you dipped the paper in it. And then hung that wet final image up to dry.
I was probably the last professional wedding photographer to jump on board with digital. I was not a fan. I held on to the very end (until they stopped making tri-ex). However, with this philosophy of holding on to the old, I gained some very wonderful clients. People who appreciated photography, as an art (not just snapshots of a wedding). And for this I am forever grateful. I shot my last roll of black and white film for a client who requested her wedding be shot with film (I love that). That was in 2005.
I recently asked my niece about school and she told me about photography class she was taking (she is a sophomore in high school) . I asked what they did. She said they took pictures with a digital (not a SLR) and then printed them on a computer. All I felt was sad. I felt bad that she will never have the darkroom experience, she will never watch her image appear slowly and surely, she will never know what it’s like. I also realized, she, like millions of others, will never know, and be none the wiser.
Today everyone is a photographer. They have iphones, and lens for their iphones (yep, they sell attachment lens). However, I realized something when speaking with my younger sister. No matter how easy it becomes to edit or take “vintage” pictures with the Instagram app or other apps, the bottom line is, some people are natural photographers and some aren’t. The positive, I suppose is that these easy applications have made the novice, or seemingly uninterested become interested in the art form, and maybe, just maybe, by doing this, they will begin to understand what photography, and the art of it, is really all about. Today I display my film, my first Nikon FG 20, and some old lens’ of my grandfathers’ on a shelf. What once made art, is now art itself. It sits alongside my discman, and a sketchpad I brought with me to Portugal. It looks pretty, sitting on the shelf, and so that is when I picked up my iphone, went to the Instagram app, and shot these images. I know, I know, Ironic.