When was the last time you held a roll of film in your hands? For most of us, I bet it’s been quite a while.
About two months ago BLACKS Photography announced that it will be closing it’s retail stores across Canada this month (the website and mobile app will remain open for business). BLACKS is a Canadian photography company with an 80 year history in Canada has been a mainstay in Canadian photo retail.
The announcement of its closing reminded my husband that he had a small stash of process-paid film from Blacks in his camera collection (he’s definitely the photographer in our family). This prompted him to pull out and dust off one of his SLR film cameras. I hadn’t seen this camera in years. He decided to take the camera and use up the films at our kids’ soccer games where their team photos were being shot that week.
When he pulled out the camera and opened it up to change the film, the kids quickly gathered around in awe, completely fascinated by what he was doing. I realized that they (including our kids) had never seen this before and my husband had to explain to them what camera film was, and what it was used for. It dawned on me that like the screech of a dial-up modem, or the snap of a flip-phone, the film camera will be a relic that our kids may never really know. Kids marveling at the interesting relic my husband was putting into his camera.
I’m by no means a professional photographer. Like most people I take the pictures of my kids with my handy cell phone camera, or if it’s on hand, with my digital SLR. There are definitely many benefits to digital photography but there are some things I really miss about using the film camera:
- We used to actually have pictures printed out to look at and I have beautiful photo albums (before ~2009) to look at and share with others on a whim. Now the thousands of pictures I’ve taken since then mainly sit somewhere on a computer drive (which I assume will be accessible to me years from now).
- I remember the art of posing for and planning a photo because you only really had one or two shots to spare. Now I’ll snap 20 photos on my digital camera without a second thought (one is likely to look good, right?).
At first thought you might assume that in terms of sustainability all the waste from producing and processing film (e.g. chemicals, canisters, film encasements) would be harder on the environment. However, it is estimated that approximately 2 million tons of electronics including mobile devices end up in the landfill each year in the US creating a huge e-waste problem.
So, this upcoming weekend when you are out and about with your family, pull out your old film camera and show your kids. Maybe even take a few pictures with it for old time’s sake!