There’s No Such Thing as Wasting Film

In Film, Nature
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I’m super precious with film, maybe too precious. But it’s expensive and I’m afraid to ‘waste’ it by making bad photographs. So, instead of risking a bad photograph (and it’s not lost on me that I also forgo the chance of making a good photograph), the film sits in the fridge.

Until finally, out of the blue, I will suddenly decide this is the day, and there’s an inexplicable urgency to shoot now, now, now. Earlier this month, I had such a day where I couldn’t get my Impossible film loaded fast enough into my well-loved (but underused) SX-70.

Pola 3

Spring was getting underway and the sweet sight of blossoms all around eased my fears. It was bright and sunny and I knew I’d get something. So off I went.

Pola 1

Shooting with the SX-70 is an exercise in letting go for me. It’s a bit of guesswork, in part because I don’t practice much (remember how I’m scared to mess up?). But each time I get a good shot or two, it spurs me to buy another pack of film, to keep going. The going is slow, but I keep going.

I wrote on my blog last week about practice and showing up. I quoted Gail Sher who writes: “If writing is your practice, the only way to fail is to not write”. The same applies to photography, to any creative endeavor. Indeed, to any and all of life.

Pola 7

If I make the choice not to shoot those packs of film in my fridge, that’s a choice made. I’m disrupting my practice, and I’m missing out on the chance that I’ll make a beautiful image (because why should I assume otherwise?). And, at the end of the day, a crappy photo made is still a photo made.

And that is – that must be – part of the journey.

Pola 5

Do you enjoy shooting film?  Are you timid like me, or do you jump in wholeheartedly??

It’s Polaroid Week (April 18-24)!  You can play along on Instagram by tagging your instant photos with #RoidWeek and/or upload them to the Flickr ‘RoidWeek 2016 group (previously unpublished images, 2 per day). And don’t forget to tag them #viewfindersio so we can find you too!



  1. Such stunning images, Michelle. And yes, I am guilty of having a fridge full of film. You have inspired me to shoot some of it! x

  2. These are beautiful Michelle! I’m so glad you decided that THE day had arrived! Like Kirstin, I have a bunch of film that been sitting in my fridge for years!!! Literally, years! I hope to get it out and start playing soon. Thanks for the nudge.

    • thanks so much, Holly.
      as for the film in the fridge…it’s just so easy to keep it safe there, isn’t it?!
      wishing you fun with your film when the time feels right…

    • thanks, Maite…that’s my favorite from the day too!

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