After recently interviewing a local man who has over 175 vintage cameras collected in his East Side basement, I decided it’s finally time to start into film photography. Several friends of mine have been doing it for varying amounts of time, and their work slowly inspired me bit by bit when I’d see it. “You’ll learn to love the art form anew” and “it’ll recalibrate how you shoot” are arguments I’ve often heard from them. I knew at some point I would bite the bullet, but I didn’t expect it so soon. Then again, why not now? What am I waiting for, exactly?
After inheriting my mother’s old Olympus OM10, I bought a new battery and two rolls of Kodak Tri-X 400 B&W and ran through a roll in a couple of days. My friends were right. It’s fun taking your time and not knowing if it turned out or not. I shoot slowly using a DSLR as is because I want to get it right in the camera, but I shot even slower with the OM10. It’s satisfying to live with the image without running it through Lightroom afterward. The imperfection analog offers is liberating and tests your ability to make a photo better than digital does.
No one will process Tri-X 400 locally (if there are, I simply don’t know about them), so I sent them to The Darkroom in San Clemente, CA for developing. I received the digital files days later.
I think I have a little bit of a light leak (half the roll has a highlight line through it), so I’ll need to inspect the case when I open it again to see if I can replace the seal. Also, I might need to have the camera recalibrated because most of my shots are slightly fuzzy.
Below are some highlights from the roll. The only thing I did to these was resize them down to 3000 pixels on their longest edge and straighten a few of them that were barely off balance. I did a decent job making sure they were level when I took them, but some of them needed very slight alteration nonetheless. No corrections were made to exposure, highlights, shadows, or anything else. Living with the settings made in the moment is key to the integrity of the process.
Descriptions for each photo were added.