Sometimes, all it takes to get you back in the game are a few words from a dead guy. In this case, Antoine Rivarol. I came across this quote of his while poking around the web during the wee hours one morning, and it hit me over the head with a bucket full of “Duh!”
A few months ago I bought my first system camera – the RZ67. I haven’t had a chance to shoot with it as much as I’d like, but it’s an awesomely awesome beast. My enthusiasm hit a slight bump in the road when I decided to be a big girl and load it all by myself. I took my time shooting the roll, savored every shot and when I finished the last frame and took the roll out… Wait, wait, wait. Something is wrong here! The paper’s all black!
Sidenote: When you’ve shot a roll of medium format film, you end up with a paper backing that says it’s been exposed and a little sticky tab to secure it shut. I didn’t have any of that. Just BLACK.
So what happened? I loaded a roll of 220 film upside-down, resulting in every shot being redscaled. I actually haven’t had the roll developed yet, so I have no clue what the photos look like. For all I know I could be in love with them and want to always load my film wrong! (Doubt it!) But I’ve been waiting weeks for the shock to wear off so I won’t be saddened by what could’ve been when I actually see the negatives. Even sadder is that I’ve been too timid to load more film into the camera since then.
Not long before this incident, I gave up on my toy cameras, too. I just wasn’t getting the results I wanted and thought the whole process was too… Well… Mysterious!
But this quote… It reminded me of why I jumped into the world of film. Because it is enchanting, most often due to the unknown factors that come into play: Light leaks, lens flare, grain, blur, and all other manners of accidents, happy or otherwise. Even if you become a master at shooting film, it will always have a small ribbon of mystery tied around it.
And let’s face it, the unknown is kinda sexy. It’s what pulls a lot of us away from our dSLRs in the first place.
Today, I’m making a promise to remember why I shoot film, to never let a mistake stop me for too long, and to always always embrace that dim haze of mystery that enshrouds the parts of the world untouched by instant gratification.
I hope you’ll join me in this promise, too.
Have a good day, everyone. :)