One benefit of shooting film is that it allows for a slight pause before a commitment is made to trip the shutter. If using 35mm film, the scene which attracts the eye often must prove its scenic worth to warrant a 1/36nd glimpse into the day of he/she who shoots. While each roll contains only several dozen exposures, it is nevertheless all-to-easy to commit oneself to a moment of light. As the roll winds down, it is also useful to have a smartphone or other pocketable digital camera at the ready, just in case the scene does not yet warrant a precious exposure. Therefore, similarities can be found with the photo-taking process when making decisions when choosing images for this blog.
I often look back at photos taken several weeks before, and to my dismay realize that what had seemed interesting, like a turd on the sidewalk in the shape of the Falkland’s, or a leaf stuck in a passerby’s hair carried only marginal weight to withstand the interest of time passed. Such was my fear when devoting one of my film camera’s precious frames to the outstretched hands of a woman who stood fascinated with smartphone camera pointed at the sky. I devoted several seconds to the unassuming leaves which canopied the trail on which we both stood. Could it be a rare bird? Or, perhaps it was a newly formed leaf or an Airbus in rapid freefall towards the lens? I never did find out. However, this moment of slight regression allowed a new sight to emerge. For, only when my anticipation shrunk from its peak could my eyes rest on her phone pointed upwards towards something I would never know, or at this point care to know. At this moment, the shutter snapped open, then immediately shut on a moment of naked visualizing. From her to her subject, and from my old Contax to her to Samsung smartphone, this remains a photoworthy scene.
[Image taken with a Contax T2 shooting Afga Vista 200. Just in case any of you readers are unaware, after a long and storied history, Afga has recently announced that this cheap and saturated film has been discontinued. So, buy the last few rolls while you can!]
(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)