A family holiday snap from a holiday park around 1999. Taken with a 1990s 35mm film point & shoot compact camera on Kodak Gold 100 film. Scanned negative.
Things have changed so quickly, and we forget so much in a such little time. There I was, snapping photos on a compact film camera in 1999. I had been using film cameras since I was a boy, when I started with a Kodak Instamatic on a 126 film cartridge – passed through Polaroids, and then onto a series of 35 mm compact point & shoot cameras. My brother owned a Canon AE1 SLR, and I was envious of that camera. I grew up in the age of film.
I bought my first digital camera I guess around 2000. My local camera shop wouldn’t sell digital cameras, as they were said that they were not up to scratch. I was told, “anyway, a 35 mm photo only costs a few pennies”. My first digital was a horrible Chinese Premier camera with a tiny internal storage. I didn’t look back though for 12 years – I then progressed onto digital Canon Powershots, then Fujifilm bridge cameras, then onto D-SLRs. Why on earth would I go back to film, with my instant, digital images?
Well here I am in 2012, and I’m enjoying my rediscovery of film. It’s not dead yet. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It really is rediscovery, I’ve become so use to digital over the past 12 years, I had no idea how much I’ve forgotten. I even found it difficult to load a film! Old SLR cameras like my brother’s AE-1 are now cheap as chips. People are surprised when they see you with a film camera – you get questioned on the difficulty of finding film (actually it’s still plentiful in the case of 35 mm rolls). It’s incredible how quickly we forget. Who would have thought that the tradition of film photography would die so suddenly, so quickly in the minds of the masses?
The above photo (I scanned it from a 35 mm film negative yesterday) is also representative of another tradition – the family holiday (vacation in US English) snapshot with a point and click camera. That is a fine tradition, and I’m not ashamed to have been part of it. It’s just that all too often, the modern digital descendant is not printed. We rely to much on digital storage – these are key family memories that should be printed and stored – kept in boxes and albums, presented in frames – not enjoyed for a few weeks on the soft memory of a mobile phone or lap top only to be deleted or thrown away. Think about printing them. You wont have a box of negatives to fall back onto.