There really is something magical about film. It took me a long time to make the "upgrade" to a digital camera.... when I did, it was as if I stepped out of the dark ages and into a new world where mistakes were less--and my uncertainty over if I "got it" or not disappeared with the sight of every digital image that appeared after each firing of the sensor exposing curtain. I am doing a major inventory of my files and negatives and I think, "Wow, how brave of me to have shot so many weddings with film!!" But in the last four years that I have used my ever steady Nikon D200 camera, I seemed to have forgotten that film exists. Every once in a while, I think that I should throw some film in my 35mm Nikon10-but, then, of course, I will have to have someone else process it (that used to be my favorite thing--dropping off the film and the anticipation of good, thorough exposures and at the same time, the fear that nothing will turn out....) and of course I have to pay for that--so, I tend to stick with the always instantly gratifying digital.
Although, I ran some film through my medium format camera in the Spring and got some lovely, albeit gritty and imperfect, results. But, that is what I do love about film: grit, grain, happy accidents... That is what has happened in the images posted here. My Dad gave me (he is always giving me old cameras that he finds at various antique stores -which I love) an old 35mm Mamiya... usually, these old cameras are not functional--but I had a feeling that I could try this one on for size. I found some old 200 speed 24 exposure film and loaded her up. Hayes and I rode the bike to the park; we played and I shot.
What happened was the take up reel didn't grab the sprocket holes in the film resulting in this: multiple exposures!!! With multiple exposures, one can achieve ghostly, overlapped and seemingly underexposed images (because of the layering and layering of frames). Compositions are left to chance--at one moment the shutter is released and a scene exposed and the next--if not calculated or controlled can be a complete mystery to be discovered only after the film has been processed. In this instance-I had no idea if the camera would even work... I wondered if there was a light leak--would the entire roll turn out black? Were the aperture and shutter functioning properly? I took a chance and with the aid of my scanner and the level tool in Photoshop, I was able to bring out the hidden information embedded in the film strip.... So, the camera works--but in its own special way... I bet if I paid close attention while I was advancing the film after each shot, I could achieve single exposures. But after this, why in the world would I want to?? I thoroughly appreciate what happened here. That is a clear reflection of my relationship with photography, actually. I like things mostly as they are.... I want to photograph something real--someone real-- and keep it real. Sure, let us retouch and use the tools at our hands to optimize the image--but let us use a light hand...(who am I talking to, here? the congregation?? "let us...") I can barely stomach portraits with script hanging over the heads of families in piles of leaves.... "family" as if we didn't know that they were family... I mean, come on. Clearly, the photograph was not enough on its own, I suppose... To me, that is not what photography is. Sure, I believe in montage and the like--but just give me natural, moving people.... and a good (or bad) camera with a clear memory card (or unexposed film) and from there a true portrait might materialize.
It is unreal how the groups overlapped... the swinging images, the eating images... and even the orientation of the compositions [oddly] align to create an intentional look. That is a happy accident.