The Dim Haze of Mystery

October 20, 2011

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!”

It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit.

– Antoine Rivarol

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. :)


[…] I currently have 3 rolls each of 35mm and medium format to get developed (including my roll of accidentally redscaled film). It’s nice when it piles up like that — the anticipation kills me, in a good way, to […]

Magic, magic, magic.
I feel inspired. Thanks, Kim. :)

Totally agree! I’m guilty of also giving up on my Holga and Diana. I haven’t used my LC-A in four months, which I’m ashamed of. However, I’ve been neglecting my digital.

I can’t wait to see the results you got with the new camera.

I’m going to have to find a lab in Portland that’s not too expensive and not too far.

oh how i agree. wonderfully composed words here. take that roll to the developer!! i’m so curious!

How fitting! I have been eyeballing my Pentax camera for the last week or so, unmotivated to go and load it up. Your post has inspired me to get back into it. With the lovely changing of seasons happening here in Houston, it’s a perfect time. I join you in your promise and thank you for such a lovely post.