A Gentle Slowing

I didn't start shooting film again until last November.

In the 90s, everyone shot film. There was no other choice. Digital Cameras were prohibitively expensive for me until about 2006, so I learned photography on disposable cameras and Polaroid 600s; my dad’s Olympus OM20 was entombed in the back of a closet in our mid-century ranch. When we finally got a digital camera in the house it weighed about 10 pounds, it might have been one Megapixel, and it definitely saved its images on floppy disks. In the modern age of 12 MP cameras on smartphones that fit in your pocket, and 50 MP Medium Format Mirrorless cameras that take up the same space as that Olympus 35mm camera, that seems archaic. But to me It was revolutionary. I was able to immediately see the work I was doing. By the time I graduated high school, I had moved (along with most of the consumer market) entirely to the digital world. Film was becoming scarce, and places to develop even more so. I wish now that I had taken a photography course or two in school, learned how to develop my own film. Instead, I learned everything I could about Adobe LightRoom, DSLRs and the basics of digital photography. I purchased digital cameras and lenses until settling on the only SLR I could afford at the time, the Nikon D3200, a camera I still use today.  

When I came home from college, I grabbed my dad’s OM20 to use as decoration in my room (both of us were under the impression that it no longer worked, and that film would be difficult to find and get developed). I wish I could say I felt some urge to learn the format, but that wouldn't come for a while. Eventually,  Fuji released the Instax Mini, and impossible project were reverse-engeneering the old polaroid filmstocks, so I picked up instant photography again. It reminded me how much I loved the physical process of photography, and I dove headfirst into the emerging online film community. I poured over videos from Negative Feedback and KingJvpes, and heard the analogue world calling me home.  I grabbed a few thrift store point and shoots, and shot whatever I could find, developing my stills at drugstores who sent it off and kept my negatives. Eventually I found batteries for the Olympus, and loaded an old roll of Fuji Superia 400 into it.