I grew up in Iowa, next to a lake that was surrounded by woods.
The memory that always sticks with me is coming home at sunset in winter. Sometimes it was the whole postcard; a bright red sky with purples and yellows. But what I remember more is when it was a purely utilitarian sunset. Just an orange smudge on the horizon with a gray sky over gray ice.
For me, that still defines natural beauty. I remember ice skating in twilight, or walking through crunching snow seeing the televisions and dinners through house windows. It was a brutal, indifferent kind of beauty, surrounded by empty trees. You could feel the dry cold against your skin like needles and the sky looked like a giant steel lid growing darker as it shut.
I genuinely miss this.
I don’t think you should trust memories. Least of all the good ones. But I still long for teenage defiance I felt being alive in such a dead world.
There are a lot of reasons to shoot film, ranging from the practical (hard drives crash – negatives don’t) to the nonsensical (“digital isn’t ‘real’ photography”).
Film is more expensive, takes longer (especially if you develop it yourself), and is much more subject to damage. And while b/w film lets you get away with a lot of exposure error, it’s still nowhere near as forgiving as RAW files.
Why are these good things?
Well, simply because they make you care more.
The big problem with photography is not – and never was – getting good photos. The problem is deciding what is good. Or to put it another way, if the question stops being ‘what is expected?’ and starts being ‘what do I want?’ then you start having to ask questions that no one can answer for you.
And, as in life, that awful question of ‘what do I want?’ is easy to avoid by giving yourself more options. You can’t write a dozen novels in a day or paint a hundred landscapes, but it’s pretty easy to shoot hundreds of photos and still have no idea what to do with them. Measuring yourself by how many images you create is like measuring a writer by how quickly they type.
But… film… right?
Shooting film slows me down. Partly because I like big-ass medium format cameras. But also because I’m a cheapskate about film itself. It still galls me that I’m paying actual money every time I press the shutter, forget about the time I’ll spend souping the film, scanning, and PS work. So I’m much more likely to ask myself if this shot is different enough from the last to justify the trouble and expense.
There’s more. There always is. But I believe in short posts. Stay tuned?
Every few years I decide to shoot film again.
After about 3 months, I decide that this is a stupid thing to do, get rid of the gear, and move back to shooting digital.
So now I’m finally getting around to editing what I shot during the last time this happened and am actually having a good time with it.
This was shot in a small town in Nevada, in a cemetery that overlooked the main highway.