It has been a week since I finished my first roll of film through my amazingly wonderful Canon EOS 3 film SLR camera which I bought for a very reasonable price. Now for someone my age, I always feel different in almost everything I do; be it hanging with friends ; be it visiting pubs/clubs; be it drinking, hitting on girls, doing drugs, and what not or for that matter, even enjoying driving a car, visiting fancy restaurants whenever the chance springs up, I prefer the old traditional and quite simple ways of living.
I like my cup of tea and sandwich that I make on my own, I love cooking, I love biking everywhere (partly because I don’t have a choice!) having a long philosophical chat with elderly people, enjoying a slow bus ride, listening to classical music, watching tons of Japanese anime (Ok, that is not old and traditional! 😛 ) and lastly, a passion which is as good as love and addiction to me in this phase of my life, photography!
I have been shooting digital since 2008 when I bought my first digital point and shoot camera by waging a bet on my third semester results with my mom (which to this day, I don’t regret one bit!). A Canon Powershot A720IS was my first digicam. It was one of the best cameras in its days with an ample (even today) 8MP CCD sensor and full manual setting control. This was the camera I learnt a lot of basics from. Then, 3 years back, I graduated to a DSLR, a Canon EOS Rebel T3, which I still use a lot. This took (and it still takes)my understanding of photography to a completely new level with the freedom of allowing me to use different lenses amongst other things.
Along this journey, I have always had the fascination of 35mm film. I still remember the feeling I used to get when I used to shoot an old Canon/Kodak compact camera whose name or model I fail to remember now. I forgot how it used to feel like, but I will always remember the thrill and excitement of getting the developed film coming back home with prints half-good! Somehow, that feeling has always been in my mind and hence, I decided to venture into film again. Getting into something that is slowly dying, no matter how you look at it, might sound weird and stupid to people who are obsessed with today’s technology and want the best the instant it comes out. People might say that I am an idiot who wants to leave all the convenience of digital to go towards something so archaic that their grandmas would forget their own name but to me, pausing, stopping for a while and enjoying the present makes more sense and makes me feel at ease.
Today’s technology evolves at such a rapid rate that people tend to spend and want stuff that they seldom require and once they do get it, their thirst and greed for more never seems to end. Ask a digital photographer one thing that they love about their camera and on if they are a beginner, the reply from whom would be ‘megapixel!’, ‘Wi-fi feature’, ‘battery life’, ‘Sensor ratings’, blah blah blah…or a professional whose reply would be ‘Sharpness of the lens’, ‘Sensor’s ISO rating’ , ‘Noise performance’, ‘Resolution of the lens’, etc… What everyone fails to understand is that today’s technology is tomorrow’s recycle, Why? Ask yourself. When have you stopped craving for something more than what you have today when it comes to Technology and the answer would be imminent! The reason for that partly comes from natural human greed and also due to laziness and as most like to call it ‘comfort’. First a phone which could do almost everything your computer does, then a watch that could do what the phone does! Who wouldn’t want a watch that could do anything your phone does, has massive loads of stuff in it (which you would flaunt for a few months and then get bored with it and start calling it names and soon, throw it off and jump the bandwagon to get the latest model again!), a watch which could do anything you desire, (who knows, might even order pizza for you when it senses your blood levels) but can show you an amazing ‘seventy two hours’ of time before you ‘recharge’ and whose battery you need to replace in 3 years! Wow! This must be really amazing considering how many ‘iDIOTS’ are willing to buy this! Oh well, to each his own. Better not get dragged into it.
So, as I was saying, technology is getting better and better while we, humans are getting dumber and dumber. “Now how is all this related to what the title says?” you may ask. Well, digital photography makes every Tom, Dick and Harry just take a piece of plastic ( and sometimes if you are rich enough, metal) and just looking at the LCD or the viewfinder click a shutter and boom, it does everything for you. It’s as if everything in today’s world is just a click of a button. Although it does help in certain situations to use them, but what do you learn from them? In my opinion, nothing! Back in the old film days, when there were not many Auto Exposure cameras, people had to do calculations in their mind, think 5 to 10 times about the perspective, composition, framing (which happen to be three of the most important aspects of photography along with light manipulation) and then press the shutter button once and an exposure gets lost. You do not have a ‘delete’ button that can erase everything associated with it! It’s become very convenient with people these days who not only with their digital files but also their lives, just click ‘delete’ and erase every memory associated with that. It has started to make us take things for granted, not value what we have and what we can do; instead makes us believe what can be achieved with that particular tool by us.
Ironic, isn’t it? We make tools to make our lives simple but in the end the tool takes over our life and makes us its slave. Anyways, once again side tracking and getting back on track, the reason why I wanted to grab an old analog camera, although quite modern for its age (it looks the same as a modern DSLR to a newbie) is because I wanted to slowly go back in time and experience and understand photography in its true essence. I do not like Photoshop. I hate people who use it to make natural stuff artificial! Call me a purist, but I still prefer the skill of a photographer in using his camera than using a software written by some guy who has no freaking idea how that is going to affect the end-user! Taking on film photography, although I have only shot one roll of Velvia 50 on it, has taught me a lot of patience and hard work. I value each exposure of my roll now and I don’t have to look back at the image and press a ‘delete’ button because I know I have preserved a memory, good if it is proper, better if it is not proper because I get to learn from it rather than just blame it on something and then delete it!
My name, in Hindi, stands for Patience and in this journey I have started to discover it. Photography is a wonderful hobby but, done right, any hobby can teach you a lot of wonderful things in life, if you want to learn!
And so, to end, well, not the best blog so far, but the words below are what I actually wanted to pen down ! Well, don’t look at me with a frown now, I told you I am random! 😛
“And so, a small girl named Velvia goes on a journey of ‘self-development’ to a place where she would find the true ‘colors’ of life and get back as a well-developed, beautiful, wonderful and mature lady bringing back all the ‘memories’ along with her. ” 😉
And thus, my film journey begins…. with the end of the tunnel being me taking some of the best photos ever with just one roll of film and a simple cardboard pin-hole camera….
As usual, a musical ending with my most favorite instrument and a very nice artist, I might’ve already posted earlier somewhere. Hope you like it. 🙂