You’re probably familiar with the ‘I got my first camera when I was 7’ story…but I REALLY DID!!! Just kidding.
The details of my early photographic life are vague but I have fond memories of going into the Boots in Winchester town centre and putting rolls of film in with the lab, paying £2.99 for the 24-hour turnaround (or £4.99 if I was feeling flush and desperate to see the photos!). When you got the film back, you’d get a little wallet of prints and the strips of cut negatives to go with them. We’d hold them up to the light and try and figure out which was which, for reprints to share with family and friends.
This is really starting to sound like a ‘back in my day’ story, but things really are different now! Life moves at lightning speed and every second of your life can be captured in photographs if you’re not careful. You click, look, click again, change something, click again…click click click. It becomes a constant strive for perfection when life just isn’t perfect.
I adore shooting weddings now but my original love was for just ‘life’ photography. The real deal. The ins and outs of day to day life, things you forget but for that dusty photograph you dig out years later. With the pace and chaos of digital photography, I wanted to slow things down and went back to shoot some film, just for fun. I picked up an old Canon EOS-1V from eBay and stocked up on some Portra 400 rolls in the disneyland for photographers, B&H.
Over a few months, I’d take out this little camera and take a photo, maybe two. Not ten or twenty or a hundred. Another few months passed with these rolls of film sitting on my shelf, patiently waiting to be brought to life. Finally I got around to sending them off and, a week or so later, an email popped up from UK Film Lab saying my scans were ready; all of this was such a different processing experience to the many years before, and the digital iPhone/iPad/social media ‘now’ world we’d become accustomed to. Suddenly, allowing time to breathe life into the photos seemed a complete luxury.
I can’t even begin to put into words the experience of looking at these photos for the first time. If you’ve seen the film Ratatouille you might know the scene near the end (spoiler alert!!) where Ego has a taste of the ratatouille and is immediately transported back to loving memories of his childhood home. Well, for me, looking at these photos – each and every one – took me back to a point in time, just earlier this year, and a special memory. Because each click of this film camera was a thoughtful, considered photo taken. Not one of many: just one. Just that split second; that light; that reaction. Not that they’re all perfect, far from it. But they mean something to me, they tell a story of the seconds surrounding that moment. And I’m so very grateful to have these happy memories. And yes, a slice of cake is a very happy memory in my world!!
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