Adventures in Photography Class – Ep. 2: Film

Oh, hey there. Happy cloudy Friday to you. I’m just sitting here in my photography class “learning” about the basic use of layers in Photoshop. Sadly, this is one of those things that I already know, so I am bored. So instead, I figured I’d post about my favorite assignment thus far in the class: film photography.

Film photography is honestly becoming an ancient art form, and I absolutely love doing it. I have found a niche, of sorts, in the dark room with its chemicals and enlargers. I got my first exposure to this wonderful art my senior year of high school. We got to go out and shoot a roll of black-and-white film, develop the negatives, and then make prints from them. In doing so, I found it to be incredibly fun and always wanted to go back to it and try it again. Luckily for me, I would get my wish.

For the past two weeks, we’ve been learning the basics of photography (proper exposure, focusing, etc.) through film. We got ourselves in small groups, and we each got to shoot a couple of photos on a roll of black and white film. After shooting, one of us was designated to load the film onto the reel for development using the most annoying contraption possible: the changing bag – a light-tight bag with sleeves for arm insertion in order to keep your film from being exposed to more light. And of course, since I was the only one in the class with experience developing film (though in high school, we just had to complete this task in a light -tight room), I was not only the designated person in my group to load the film, but I was also drafted to go first to show people how it was done. Luckily, I succeeded and our film turned out nicely.

But of course, that’s not where the fun ends. We had to choose our best/favorite negative to make a print out of, and I knew which mine would be before I even saw the negative.

Film Print

It’s a heart drawn in the snow. Apparently to many people, it looks like sand…only that can’t work out…because I live in Kentucky. (Sadly, I still have 4 weeks before I’ll be on the beach.) Anyway. I’ve always wanted to take snow pictures. Of course, I live in the south, so it’s not like we get the fluffy white wonderland very often. But when we do, I try to take advantage of it.

I think the great thing about film is the process. I mean, true, so many things could go wrong (loading the film into the camera has to be executed perfectly so that your film doesn’t slip off or get jammed, you never know what you’ve gotten until you develop the negatives, you have to be careful not to mix chemicals, etc.), but I think that’s what makes it such an art. It takes lots of patience to master the craft, but aside from that, it’s just a good thing to try. It certainly helps to develop a greater sense of appreciation for digital photography and all of the perks of technology.

For my final project, I might consider doing film work. There’s just so much that you can do, and I would love to get even better at this particular medium. Anything is possible, that’s for certain. And I like the endless possibilities that come with being confined to one strip of silver dusted plastic. It’s more complex than I could ever know and I love it.


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