The Joy Of Film
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Posted by: KirkWest | Categories: Blog

So today I think I am going to talk about why I miss film.
All the photos on this website…all the photos I took from 1962 until 1998 were done on film. Primarily Ilford HP5 which is a 400 ASA film that I would often times push to 800 or 1600.

But I miss that, all of that, you know… the texture, the grain, the working in the dark room, hot souping your film, making an exposure – pulling it short, smoking in the dark room using the smoke from your cigarette as a filter to diffuse the image slightly. You know the tricks of the darkroom, for a good black and white guy, are like the tricks of a short order cook at the Waffle House. You know you can do six orders at the same time, and it’s all by hand and it’s all spin in place. That is what being a dark room technician is all about. And I miss that. I miss the fact that my fingers would smell like fixer. I miss standing in the cool dark room at three o’clock in the morning when the phone wasn’t ringing.

Everything is photographed now. It used to be photography was a moment. Now it’s a matter of fact.

Kirk West

I will say that the convenience of digital photography is certainly a bonus.
I enjoy the fact that I can see the stuff immediately. But I will say that the gift of digital photography is a double edged sword actually, because there is no limit. It’s not like you have 36 exposures before you have to change the film. You would pick your shots better…you would anticipate the shots better. Now push shoot and it’s like a machine gun.
And there were motor drives back in the day. I still have a motor drive on my Nikon F3 that holds…I think ….12 AA batteries?…. 8 anyway…maybe 12. But it was a different day and age. You anticipated your moment, you saved your moment. You only had 36 before you had to change the film. And that is when we are talking about 35mm film, with the Hasselblad’s you get 12 shots. Maybe 24 if you shot the 220 rolls. But it demanded that you conserve your efforts.
And I miss that. Yeah, I’m getting great stuff and yeah, I know it immediately when I’ve got it, and you move on to the next one, but the magic of photography is disappearing, HAS disappeared. Being a photographer back in the day was like being a magician. You could create things in the darkroom that no one could even imagine. Now you can do it in Instagram.

Everything is photographed now. It used to be photography was a moment. Now it’s a matter of fact. I miss the old days. That’s one of the things I think about when I scan these old negatives and l look though the life I have lived and remember those moments.
I enjoy it. I miss it. I love photography

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