I recently bought a film camera. Not a fancy one with swappable lenses and a controllable aperture, but one of those like my parents had back in the 90s. The sort of camera I first learnt to take pictures with, and very much the sort that was superseded first by the digital camera and then the smartphone.
It’s the culmination of something that’s been a bit of an inconsistent habit for me. I’ve been buying disposable cameras off-and-on for the past seven years or so, usually buying one before a vacation or similar trip. It’s become something of a novelty; in this age where I have a 12-megapixel camera in my pocket almost all the time, I sometimes produce a technological relic from my bag.
On the one hand, sure, it feeds into that whole hipster schtick and doesn’t look out of place with my vinyl collection; “of course, Josh would have a film camera.” But I think there’s also an appeal to a photo-taking device that can’t end up online. I’m of the cohort for whom being able to put your photos online to share with your friends was a novel idea. You didn’t need to send them over MSN anymore, you could just post them and there they were for everyone. Of course, Facebook absorbed most forms of online communication and promptly devolved into the cesspool it always wanted to be.
For that, taking photos with a film camera feels like a small rebellion against online life. Sure, I can get them digitized (or take a picture of them) to share with my friends, but it’s one step removed. Plus, the decidedly finite number of exposures on a roll of film makes it a bit more special than the thousands on my iPhone.
I’m waiting on a roll of film to be developed and I have another that’s halfway done. I have no idea how these photos are gonna turn out, but it’s pretty fun to be in that limbo between, where maybe these photos are gonna look great, and maybe there’s a finger in front of the lens because it seems like everyone forgot about that when digital cameras became a thing. Maybe that’s half the fun: the record of your memories might not be pixel-perfect, so take the time for the moment.
That, or I’m really just an annoying hipster.