I'll go ahead and say it: I've always had an on and off relationship with film photography. I wouldn't have it any other way, though.
Although I must admit, sometimes it can be so trying.
The heartbreak of the underexposed roll. The anguish of a broken camera. The frustration of having no easily accessible source of film — much less an accessible lab who will process them. I’ve had my fair share of discouraging experiences.
But why is it that I can’t seem to give it up?
I can’t say that I’m exceptionally talented in photography. I’m mediocre at best — as my passion leans more on the written word — and you could say that I’ve only picked it up out of curiosity.
It’s just so different from writing and at the same time, similar.
They can be both so fickle.
The reasons why I enjoy film photography are the same as any other enthusiast out there; I like the spontaneity and the unpredictability that it provides – something I feel isn’t entirely experienced with the digital medium.
The grain, the colors, the contrast, the light leaks, the film burns. Sometimes, it’s like a roulette, or to borrow a quote from Forrest Gump, “like a box of chocolates”. All factors and elements adding up and making the final image unique.
But then again, it may sound ironic after that bit, but I also enjoy the science and precision needed behind it.
While I admit I am not the most patient person around to learn how to work a fully manual film camera inside and out, there is something about knowing the exact aperture and shutter speed combination that works best for the lighting conditions and the film’s ISO that fascinates me. Like a mathematical formula that would guide you to achieving the right answer, or in this case, a clear and sharp image.
It’s like a puzzle; a puzzle whose rewards can be extremely satisfying.
And of course, like any good puzzle, it’s highly frustrating if you let it get the best of you.
Perhaps, that is why film photography has become important to me. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me guessing. It keeps me wanting to try again no matter how many heartbreaks I get.
Or maybe I’m that much of masochist.