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My Camera Broke … And Taught Me a Lesson How Shooting With Film Has Given Me a New Perspective
My office walls are decorated with pictures I’ve taken over the past few years. In reality, my office is the only “gallery” that would exhibit these pieces of art, so I’m planning on keeping my CPA license active for now. It has become a tradition of mine to go on a road trip every year after tax season to explore a different part of the country. So far, the Southwest is one of my favorite destinations. Embracing the weirdness of Burning Man in Nevada, driving through the vast open spaces of New Mexico, hiking up to the Arches in Utah, or spending an afternoon exploring Antelope Canyon in Arizona just fills me with wonder. Taking pictures is really just an excuse to stop and hang around in one place for a while. It also forces me to look at my environment from different points of view and notice things that I would just walk by otherwise. This year, I plan on visiting Maine to take pictures of the lighthouses along the shore. For me, planning is half the fun — I’ve already ordered a couple of books about the region and familiarized myself with the history of the lighthouses and the surrounding fishing towns. Of course, I’ll have to visit the local restaurants where the best “lobstah” is served as well. Unfortunately, my camera broke a few months ago, so I’ve been looking to buy a new one. There are so many new cameras on the market with great new features that it is almost impossible to choose one. I recently heard a quote that stuck with me: “Every famous photograph was made with a camera less advanced than the one you are using now.”This statement might be an exaggeration, but it made me think. Rather than buying the latest and greatest gear available, I ended up purchasing an old film camera from the ‘70s. Not the exact model I had when I was a child, but something similar. When I was growing up, my father had a small darkroom set up in the corner of the utility room. It was a tiny space, but it felt like a magical place to me. I remember curiously
Downtown Cleveland (photo by Laszlo Szilagyi)
watching the photo paper as it was submerged in the developer and a faint picture started to appear.
Filled with nostalgia, I started my journey into shooting film. I was surprised by the fact that most retail places like Walmart and CVS still develop film, but unfortunately, they only provide low-quality digital scans, and they don’t return the original film. This arrangement wasn’t acceptable to me, so I kept exploring my options. I thought about developingmy own film, mostly because the how-to videos onYouTube made the process seem so easy. After several failed attempts, I can confirm that watching a few videos on the internet doesn’t make one an expert. What’s most important is that I’ve been enjoying this journey, and I even managed to produce some pictures along the way. Even though I’ll end up buying a new digital camera eventually, the lessons I’ve learned from using this older technology will stay with me.
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