Film has my heart

In Film, Memory-keeping, Time Travelling
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At the beginning of spring, I posted two photos of a cherry tree in bloom on my Facebook page. One was a digital photo, taken with my Canon 5D, the other was a film photo, taken with Canon AE1 Program. Of the two photos, the film one is my favourite and I commented that for me “film knows this trick where it takes me right back to how it felt.” Kirstin then commented that it could be an interesting blog post. So, thank you Kirstin for the idea and here is my attempt at making a blog post of something that I can’t quite explain… the allure and the magic of film.

The digital photo on the left is pretty faithful to what we saw the day I took it. It was a beautiful day, with a cloudless blue sky and the pink of the cherry blossoms against that blue was stunning. The film photo on the right (Portra 160) has totally different tones and colours and is less of a faithful rendition of what it was like in real life, and yet, of the two images, it is the one that seems to just suck me into some kind of time machine and I am there again, in an instant. I don’t know how film does this, how this magic works.

Is it nostalgia? I started photography as a hobby when film was all there was. Deep into grieving the death of my Dad, when I was 18, I bought myself a Canon AE1 Program (not the one I use today) and a plane ticket from France to the West coast of Canada for a month long holiday. I took a lot of photos and have never stopped shooting film since. This isn’t about which is best, I shoot digital as well, often, and I love my digital camera. There is room for both digital and film, but film definitely has my heart. I love the grain, the tones, the colours, I love to try different film stock, I love the happy accidents, the light leaks, I love the sounds of each of my film cameras, the idea that other people have loved them before me, but most of all I love the magic of film, the way it seems to capture emotions as well as landscape and moments and the way it makes me travel back to those places and those moments, to the light, the smells, the sounds of a particular moment. It truly seems to capture and freeze in time how I felt at the time I pressed my shutter-release button.

Valerie

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