coming to life

The Film Days - Moments Coming To Life

Never in a million years did I think this one class I was going to take would change my life.  Wait, not only my life but change the way I saw things and open my eyes up to a totally different world!

It was grade 10 photography class at Victoria Park High School and I remember it like it was yesterday.    I was bitten by the photography bug and have been addicted ever since. My uncle gave me my first film camera, a Konica Minolta and I loved that thing. Photography for me has always been such an incredibly fun, creative way to communicate MY visions.  Allowing people into my world, to view things through my lens, my eyes.

Walking into that darkroom for the first time, the darkness, the red light and of course that unforgettable smell of developer, stop bath and fixer all mixed in together. Overwhelming at first but you get used to it and learn to like the distinctive smell that fills the darkroom.  One of the toughest parts was fumbling around in the dark, no pun intended.  Then getting the film out of the camera and onto the spool and into the developing tank. Once I got the hang of that, it was smooth sailing and good times all around.

It was a bit of a steep learning curve both with the camera and in the darkroom but I enjoyed every minute of it and I think I am a better photographer for it. Having learned the craft before the digital revolution exploded on the scene has made me a better photographer.  I see things differently, I shoot differently and I actually think about the shot before I take it.

Making test strips to get the right exposure for your image, dodging and burning the real way, not in a digital computer program. Then, the piece de resistance, seeing what you shot in camera literally come to life on that piece of photography paper right before your very eyes.  That my friends is magic! The whole darkroom process is just an incredible experience from start to finish. I am so glad I was able to experience that for a few years in high school.  Sometimes I really do miss and long for those days.

The Importance of Printing Your Work - Preserving Memories

As photographers, printing our work is or at least should be a big part of what we do for ourselves AND of course our clients. In my humble opinion, preserving in print the work we create is a necessity. Photographs are meant to be seen on paper not on a screen. Remember the days of film photography? That is all we had. Shoot your images on film. Take that film into the darkroom and watch your images come to life on a piece of photo paper right in front of your eyes. It was like magic! If you didn’t have access to a dark room, you would just drop your images off at the lab to be processed then headed back in a few days to pick up your images. The excitement you felt when opening up that envelope that contained your images…ohhh the anticipation and excitement! It was a tangible thing. You could touch it, feel it AND look at it. There is something almost romantic about a printed image. You just can’t quite recreate that film look when you are shooting digitally. One could say printing emancipates your photographs!
Nowadays we just take the memory card out of our cameras, slide it into the slot on our computers and start browsing the images in the program of our choice for viewing/editing. You can just edit your images in a program on the computer, export it, attach it to an email and send it off to whomever you want. You can also share your image with hundreds/thousands of others by simply throwing that digital file onto the Internet and instantly have an audience. Digital photography is incredibly convenient for sure but it’s not the same.
There is still something to be said for physically holding in your hands a moment captured in time that was printed on photo paper. To be able to see something you created hanging on a wall framed and in print...you just can’t beat that feeling it gives you. To be able to stand back and admire that gives you an indescribable feeling.