Sitting here in the early morning chill with a cup of tea and recollecting mile markers along that journey, from cameras owned and sold, to changes in vision, and as a result, new directions in creativity.
Since receipt of a Brownie Starmite for my birthday, 57 years ago from this Sunday, I have maintained an ongoing and intimate relationship with cameras and the art of photography. As is the common route to development of personal style, I started out like everyone-taking "snaps." Pictures of my dogs, Midnight and Blue (Black and Tan Coonhounds), out the front window of the car on the way up North to the hunting camp, the Christmas Tree, etc. I have inherited many of these shots on 127 from my father, who I think saved every print he ever made or acquired.
As depicted in recollection of my own journey, none of us begin the path by making art. Rather, it was simply learning the tools you have and getting feedback when the film came back from the "drugstore" (under the tutelage of my father). What a stark contrast in today's digital world. Children are now most likely to take their first photograph with a cell phone, which like all digital capturing agents, allows for immediate feedback via the image on the LCD screen. In 1960, I likely waited up to a week for my film to come back from a lab-today that feedback loop is close to milliseconds. That is a definite advantage for learning, however I say that with a caveat. While new digital photographers of today have the temporal feedback advantage, I would guess that over 90% or them do not have the faintest clue as to the meaning and impact of F Stop, Depth of Field, Shutter Speed, Reciprocity Failure, etc. In the development of a real understanding of light and image making, this turns out to be a real disadvantage-like driving a car without knowing what any of the guages mean...
It has done my heart well to see a resurgence of photographers either starting film for the first time, or returning to film. It has been a great honor to have some of my friends on Flickr write and request assistance in using film and watch them develop (pun intended).
In closing, I would also note, as I have in previous posts-I am not a film snob. Indeed, I am pleased with all the choices we have now, including the ability to blend old and new technology to further enhance the creation of our visions. I am quite pleased to not have to dip my hands in chemistry in the darkroom and spend hours setting up and then cleaning trays to print. Film scanning and Photoshop have made all of that a memory from my journey.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”