Perfect Imperfection | Seattle Film Photography 

Hooray for analog! I finally got around to the long (although not quite arduous) process of getting my medium format film prints into their new square photo album this afternoon. Having the prints in a square format (some 5 inch square, some 4) makes them automatically special, but it’s the getting them there and into a real live, not-on-the-computer, album that makes it all so extra special.

Taking photos on film, in any format, involves you in such a different process from that of digital photography, and until I got my Diana F+ a few Christmases ago, I’d mostly left film photography behind for some time. Back when I was working on feature films, I had basically become a film snob, and would abhor anything that would be shot on anything but 35mm celluloid, for the process and production values at the time when working with film, just magnified a project to further greatness. Everyone has now gone digital in the lands of both professional photography and film-making but there are signs everywhere of nostalgia for those mediums; there has been a resurgence in what is called the ‘analog lifestyle’; go see http://www.lomography.com/ if you want to see how the Lomo movement has taken off with and grab every cool camera to do so with. And funnily enough, every camera app on your iPhone wants to replicate film, to get the look and feel of its simplicity, its unsuspecting colors and its element of surprise. I love using the phone apps but they don’t truly represent the process of taking photos on film, getting them developed and into your hot little hands, where they were highly anticipated for so long (usually the next day, actually). You had to make sure every shot counted and there were always some good, and disappointing surprises with the returned prints.Then finally getting those beautifully imperfect prints into an album – not even into separate plastic dividers inside, just with actually photo mounts straight onto the page – feels like the most wonderful thing. For if photos aren’t meant to be gazed over (other than on a phone display or on you laptop), what are they for? There’s a major satisfaction of holding that imperfect surprise of a print in your hot little hands…and there you go, that is your art.

As photographers now, with all the new technology and post-processing available, you find yourself expecting nothing less than perfection. Perfect composition, lighting, exposure, posing, editing, all of it; some aspects of the medium have allowed us to get close to perfect, particularly with the new ability to take countless shots without worrying about wasting frames/money. But we may spend too much time trying to get that ‘perfect shot’ these days…

I think I will set myself a personal cat project with film because I think this would be a lot harder challenge against digital. I would expect most pet photographers to agree that they can take a lot of shots of cats and dogs at a session but most will be throw-aways, due to the activity and often non-compliance (or if you’d like to say, they had a different agenda that day). I don’t think I’d be able to do the same pet portraits on film, but I’d go in with hope that the less-than-perfect shots held their character as I imagined but still showed me some great surprises. I will have to research some pet photographers of the past who shot on film…

On to a week of organizing photos, possibly a cat session and a model session, as well as prepping for school portraits! It’s keeping me busy but it also keeps me sane; it all serves as therapy!

“A beautiful thing is never perfect.’ – Proverb

Bye for now. xo ~ K

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