Camera Roll

Did you learn photography with film? Do you shoot film now?

You had 12 or 24 or 36 photographs to look forward to, when they came back from developing. It was always expensive, and you had to wait to see them.

You usually got one photo to get right for one scene. Unless you had a motor drive and lots of money, rapid fire photographing hoping to get a good one out of the bunch wasn’t an option. Trying to take many angles and views of one thing to force a good picture out of it was not what you usually did. You only had a few pictures in the camera left to get the pictures you wanted when you went out to photograph.

If you shot slide film for the color, you had to have internegatives made at a lab of the good ones in order to get prints, and prints were all you got–small ones because big ones like 8×10 were expensive.

It might have been difficult when you were learning to decide “what” to photograph and where. When you traveled somewhere it was easer, everything was new and you could find things strange and different from your everyday surroundings. Iconic objects like the Eiffel tower, Times Square, and Yosemite Valley were things you knew to photograph from books and magazines–pre-photographed for you, as it were.

Here is a digital film roll of unedited JPG photographs from the camera. It was taken walking around an old, abandoned schoolhouse in my city. 

Finding something to photograph is easy, there are always an infinite number of them you can take anywhere, anytime. Taking good photographs of the anything is hard.

We see what we see in a constant stream wherever we are. Photographing some single attractive object like a mountain, forest, person, or striking pattern can be difficult to make others respond to. Taking a photograph of just the vision your eyes make of an entire scene, creating an interesting photograph of it others may stop to look at and react to is very, very difficult. There is no pretty object or flashy light/colors, or dramatic action to grab the viewer, just everyday reality we all see all the time. Taking good “pictures of nothing” has always been my struggle.

Difficult is great fun those few times it comes together–then it’s gone…