I got a roll of Kodak color film developed today. I shot about half the roll in early September of last year and then finally finished shooting the roll (along with some help from my friends) recently. I had a lot of trouble “saving” film. I ended up saving a lot of shots because I didn’t want to waste film on mediocre shots. Of course, after letting the film sit in my camera for… about seven months, I finally decided to just indiscriminately finish the roll. At 21 exposures, I realized that I had no idea if it were a 24 or 36 roll, so I handed it to my girlfriend before we went out on a shoot and just said “your job is to finish the roll”.
I’m really terrible at focusing this camera. I’ll post the well exposed shots and talk about those and then just dump the decent, if out of focus, shots at the end.
The roll was started on a class trip to DC. I am simply blown away by the portrayal of colors in film. It’s an effect that I don’t think is possible to recreate with digital editing, a “secret sauce” that represents a niche that I hope will always felt ‘needed’, a necessity that will never drive film from production and into the pages of history.
Film color is simply robust, I can’t even put my finger on it. It’s imperfect, but perfectly so.
Maybe it’s a sense of nostalgia. Photography of this sort was the standard in years gone by, in our childhood and even our parent’s childhoods, this sort of color and responsiveness to light has a timeless aesthetic that is tied to something deeper than a visual satisfaction.
A medium that can tap into a visual nostalgia, an association with feelings spurned from memories immemorial, links an emotion to an aesthetic. The emotion is overlaid with the photo as a result of the aesthetic.
Memories, emotions, physical photographs, all of them work together to create a picture and dictate how we feel about them. Photography will never be more or less than a record of light, but how the light is interpreted by the camera, and if a particular camera or a medium light is recorded onto is used consistently enough, the aesthetic is associated with the memories created by the record of the light. A photographer can tap into that, and that’s one of the most profound strengths of film I’ve found.
Film photography’s colors are simply brilliant. I can’t pin down exactly why it is. I’m sure a very technical analysis of how certain values and hues are rendered could be done. I could line up comparison shots and compare point by point the differences. However, I think it’s suffice to say that color film is unique and beautiful.
And below are shots that are… well, less than beautiful but unique in their own right. Many photos from the roll are simply boring, but these are photos which I knew would be good shots… if they were in focus. Oh well, nothing to do but practice and keep shooting. Click for full size, as always. Though you won’t get much more detail out of these from the thumbnails, haha.