I fell in love with film during an Economics lecture while sitting in the front row. It was 2015. The photographer was Japanese, Tsu-something, and I found his Flickr somewhere. He had beautiful friends in beautiful places. Film became a weird aesthetic obsession. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I remembered, somewhere inside me, that this was something I loved.
For a few weeks, I hunted around for film alternatives: apps, edits, programs. In the end, I discovered that something I’d shunned as a kid, kicked around with friends, brought to the zoo, no less–disposables–would be the closest thing. So I ordered disposable cameras and shot them during the remainder of the school year. I brought them to work during my internship, where my co-worker chuckled–wait! I said, let me get my camera. I sent them to Wal-Mart to get developed because it was the only place I could. The 2 hour places were gone, Costco had recently stopped, and Wal Greens prices were expensive.
I did this with a disposable every year. A disposable camera album for 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. In 2015, I tanked a Biology test, dropped the class, and took a film one instead. I loved it. I learned how to pick out the film. Place it on the reel. Add the chemicals. And dry the film. And dropping the Science class wasn’t for naught–I was still able to shave off a semester of college, and end up rediscovering my love for Psychology. (-Oh! How funny in retrospect. Things would have been different if I hadn’t taken Psychology in lieu of that Bio class. After that, I opted for a Psychology elective my Senior Year…which led me to my current graduate program in Psychology. Wow. Weird. It all came full-circle.)
A few years ago, while cleaning out the house, I stumbled upon my parents’ old camera, a Canon Snappy LX. They’d used it when they were young. And hip. And looking like cool flower hippies from the 60’s, with my mom in long skirts and my dad in shorts. The camera still worked. I bought film, but barely shot anything: I knew it’d be overly expensive to develop the film. Film itself is expensive, as any 20-something with a friend with Polaroids will know. And developing it is also expensive. Aside from Wal-Mart, most places charge about a quarter or two per photo.
But come last summer, I finally bit the bullet and bought my own chemicals. I bought my own tanks. I did some online research and scrapped their time-consuming, overly expensive tips. Instead of professional chemical bottles, I used old vinegar jugs. Instead of a hot water bath, I threw those in the microwave. It worked. And my boyfriend, seeing how much I struggled to convert the negatives to images, hearing how much I babbled about film, surprised me with a Epson 5500 scanner.
Since then, I’ve scanned about 8 rolls of film–about twice as many as I have over the past 5 years. I’ve been lightly sharing some of the 35mm on WordPress, but not as much as I’d like to. Now that I have so much more time, I plan to post batches of previous film that I’ve developed. Because why not? I love film. And my oh my, was this a longwinded love letter to it.