All photography is, in some ways, a form of nostalgia: an image captured is a moment passed, not lost but forever retained in a visual form. And maybe it is this almost supernatural ability to capture a fleeting moment that has caused the international obsession with photography, spawning online sites such as Instagram and Tumblr. However, many have come to question the merit of modern day photography; can a picture taken with an iPhone really be considered a form of art? This, in addition to the ability to delete and modify these images until they are unrecognisable from the original ‘moment’ of capture, could be considered as detracting from photography’s romanticism. This romanticism being the ability to freeze time, to develop, print, and frame a fleeting instant on your wall.
As a reaction against digital photography and speed-editing every shot with multiple filters, film photography has experienced a renaissance. The revival of polaroid, the vintage cameras fetched from our grandparents’ drawers and cheap disposable cameras have revolutionised photography. Now people are being encouraged to embrace the imperfections of the first image taken and to consider the red eye or over-exposure as a perfect imperfection. Disposable camera are perfectly suitable for the accident-prone teenagers who break and lose everything of considerable value, and they are also a festival must-have: not only can they withstand mosh-pits and drunken falls, but they also tint the pictures with an almost rosy hue. The flash produces unforgiving mug-shots which always provide endless enjoyment.
In addition to the fun of the results, there is an indeterminable feeling associated with waiting to get film pictures developed. Was the light okay? Did I load the film properly? What did I even take pictures of in the first place? This may seem like a bombardment of anxieties, but it is this very unknown factor that makes film photography unlike any other medium. The anticipation. The not knowing in an age where knowledge is as instantaneous and as readily available as the pictures we capture on Snapchat. The sweet lack of control in this digitally governed era where you can alter, refine and control the appearance on of every aspect of your pictures. And finally the grand reveal; an image of the moment, that one precise moment, glossily restored. A memory you can hold.
Below are a select few of my film exposures and disposable images. Can you feel the sense of nostalgia, too, even though you weren’t there?
Article by Lara Delmage