Photography is a contemplative art for me. Spending the time to find just the right expression of an object or scene. Maybe that’s why I haven’t really photographed lately: I haven’t had the proper time to devote to all the parts of the process.
I wrote that a couple of weeks ago, as kind of a blogging prompt. Since then, I purchased an antique camera from the thrift store — the first non-35mm addition to my collection in years — and I also got an email from an acquaintance who is just getting into photography, asking for ideas of where to get film developed and scanned.
I feel like those two things happening so close together kind of jump-started me back into my hobby. Plus, spring is coming (OK, it’s officially here, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it), and that means more opportunities to get outside and photograph.
The last time I photographed on film was 2012. I have an image posted to my Film Cameras album on Flickr from June 2012, taken with my Starmatic. That was the only roll I exposed after my son was born in Fall 2011, not counting the roll that I loaded up when we moved two years ago and only recently finished off and sent out to be developed.
I used to live about 10 minutes’ drive from the only place in town that would develop any film you could throw at them: color or black-and-white, 35mm or 120 or Brownie film or even 110 (like Mom’s Instamatic used to take). Taylor Photo was the best, and Randy Taylor was always a treasure trove of information. As my interest in film photography got rekindled over these past couple of weeks, I looked up Taylor Photo and discovered that Mr. Taylor died of cancer last February. Which is saddening on so many levels.
I looked around some more, and discovered that the only local place to get film developed (outside of Rite Aid or Walgreens or other pharmacies) is a place that’s about a half hour south of me, that develops color film in-house but ships black-and-white to another lab for a minimum of $25, process only (i.e. no prints). They don’t take less-popular formats like 127 or 110, but could probably ship them off somewhere else to be developed.
My awesome hobby just became a little less awesome.
So, it looks like I’ll be sending my film out to California, with a $6 return shipping charge for my negatives and my disc of scanned images. They’ll process just about anything, and they’ve got their finger on the pulse of the analog photography trend (as film photography is called these days), with Holga and Lomo and whatnot becoming popular amongst the hipster crowd. (Yeah, I own those cameras, too — a Lomo LC-A, a Holga, and a modded Holga — and I do love the photos they take, so color me hipster, I guess.)
I won’t namedrop this photofinisher until I’m sure I like their work and their service — I just mailed my first two rolls today. One roll was a secondary test of my Ricoh 35FM (with that roll of film that sat in it for over two years) and another roll I found in a box of old stuff and I have no idea how old it is or what’s on it or if it’ll come out at all.
As I write this, my new-to-me Agfa Pioneer is sitting next to me, loaded with a roll of slightly expired black-and-white 120 film, queued up to take photo number four of eight total exposures on the roll.
Somehow, I got my photography mojo back.