Periodically, I get in a rut and just buy up a bunch of film and cameras. It’s partly my shopaholic tendencies mixed with GAS and some gear envy. But It’s not really helping my photography. It’s actually killing it right now. So here are 5 signs you know you might need to change things up.
1. I’m Buying Film for No Reason
I currently have 100ft of Kentmere 400, 100ft of Kodak 5298, ten rolls of Ilford HP 5, 5 rolls of Fujifilm Xtra 400, some Velvia, Provia, Acros, Ektar, and a ton of indecision. It is just too much film for my brain to comprehend, especially with no particular project in mind. So it will sit in my fridge until I’m ready to use it, but then when I’m ready, I’ll just go point the camera at stupid stuff and not have any goal. It means I can literally develop a roll, and throw it immediately in the trash. That’s expensive.
2. I’m Shooting Film With My Eyes Closed
I’m actually at a point and shoot at the ground sometimes, just to get to the end of the roll so I can develop it. This is a lack of insight, vision, direction, whatever you want to call it. Lately, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll open the camera back mid way through the roll and just toss it out of frustration. It’s expensive, but more to the point it’s discouraging. If I’ve lost my focus or vision, or I’m running around with a camera and no end game, I’m just wasting film.
3. I’m Not Developing the Film
This one is a big issue, too. I’ve got ten or more rolls of film that are sitting in my cabinet right now — actually sitting in multiple cabinets, drawers, bags, and in the fridge — and they’re not getting processed. I have the chemicals, that’s not the issue. It’s more that I’m just not interested in even developing the film. I suppose I could be like Garry Winogrand or Vivian Maier but realistically, I’m not shooting prolifically enough or good enough to group myself with the greats.
4. I’ve Developed Film and Not Scanned It.
Yeah, that’s right. I’ve got 4 rolls hanging from hangers, two of which I developed 2 weeks ago. I’ve got another two I just tossed that I had developed and let sit in the closet for two months. My scanner is sitting on the kitchen table, unplugged, and the last two strips of negatives are in it. I can’t remember if they’re color or not. I’m a mess.
5. I Can’t Pick a Camera
I’ve got well over 60 cameras now. I bought two in the last two weeks. I had one of my favorites, the Zenza Bronica, go belly-up on me during a field trip. I’m toting a Fujifilm Klasse around with monochrome in it, and I don’t even want to shoot mono. My F1 is acting up, and I sold my Leica. I could grab my Canon 7, but I’m so fickle right now I don’t even want to use that!
Is There a Cure ?
So that leaves me with a conundrum: how do I get out of this rut and get back in the game ? The answer, as it has been in the past, is to grab the X100T and get my rhythm back. It’s much easier to blow an SD card than it is to blow a roll of film. But now you’re shooting didge and not film ?!! Yeah, but film isn’t all about the image. It’s about the process and the tangible result. It’s archival, and real, and can be reprinted decades later. Digital, right now, is where I should be trashing shots due to cost and flexibility. So the X100T will get a set of charged batteries tonight , and a couple of memory cards, and as soon as this rain stops, I’ll be out snapping away to get it out of my system. The film will be there when I get done. All 200+ feet of it.