During my summer holiday in 2012, my wife asked me to come with her to a national park close to us in order to scout for locations to shoot some of her floral work.
At that time I was close to completing my digital 365 photography project and was thinking about what to do next in terms of my camera and photography hobby. Suddenly, I thought that maybe I should check if my film SLR (Minolta X-500) from 1985 still works.
Before hitting the forest, I bought new batteries and a 24 exposure roll of colour negative film from the supermarket. It had been nearly 20 years since I had used that camera or loaded a roll of film. The feeling and sound of winding the film brought me instantly back to my teenage years in the 1980’s when I used to shoot and process B&W film and process the photos in the darkroom.
I shot the roll on that afternoon and tried hard to remember not to chimp after the exposure. When we got back home I took the film to a one hour photo lab and asked to get the images scanned. We went to do some shopping for a while and then picked up the processed negatives and scanned pictures.
I can’t say that the pictures were perfect (and the scan quality was pretty bad) but the camera did work and I even had some correct exposures. The feeling in the pictures was so different from the recent digital ones.
Did I like the pictures? Yes and no. Film is still supposed to give very good quality pics (which these were not). Cheap supermarket film and a scanner in a one hour photolab do not produce the best possible quality. But the grain looked so familiar and appealing.
I guess that is because I have grown up during the film era. All my childhood pictures have this grainy-not-so-perfect look in them. Like this one from the ’70s:
Could I fall in love with film? Could I achieve good quality while still seeing the distinct film look? How would my current environment look like if it was shot like the pics in my childhood? Could I process the film myself and get better results? Sounds like a nice project to investigate.