I've just been reminded of that wonderful emotion you can get from film photography when I picked up my holiday photos, and may have shed a little tear! I recently treated myself to a Leica M2 and trialed my new toy on holiday in New Zealand with my sister.
It's an emotion we've all sadly lost since the onset of digital. It's the excitement of reliving your holiday when you're back in the throws of reality, the apprehension of whether they've come out okay and, when you see them for the first time, it's the memories and emotion of the holiday that comes flooding back. For me, it's also that little bit of magic that film (especially Leica film!) manages to create… a subtlety that digital just can't seem to process.
I also took a Canon G12 with me, in case, god forbid, I'd put the films in wrong or managed to lose them en route home. I'm pleased with the photos I took - I had time to retake and perfect each photo, to manicure each one in photoshop afterwards and to create some beautiful photos that I've plastered on Facebook to show the world what an amazing trip we had. But by the time I got home I was bored of them. My impatience had got the better of me, and I'd looked at them so many times during the holiday that any emotional attachment to them had gone.
My film photos are entirely different.
I took the film photos for me. Not to post on Facebook, not to show people how amazing our holiday was. But to remember a journey of a lifetime and the little moments that were special to me.
The Leica M2 has no light meter. So I have to compose the shot, measure the available light with my (1950's) external light meter, then set the settings on the camera to match, and maybe adjust it by a stop or two to add drama or to make sure there's no overexposure. By this stage my sister's found the whole process very amusing, has been distracted by something different and got bored of posing. But that's the beauty of it. I've captured an unassuming, natural moment. The whole process allows you the time to think about what your capturing and take photos with meaning, not just a snapshot.
There's one photo which made me cry and summed up so much about my holiday to me… so many good times all rolled into a photo. It's a personal photo that won't hold much to anyone else, but if you look at it enough you might be able to appreciate the magic of film and some of those emotions and good times… And maybe it'll inspire you to think a little more about the pics you take and maybe even to take a roll of film with you on your next holiday!