Field of Science

Darkroon nostalgia

One of the many skills the Phactor developed was a certain proficiency in the photographic darkroom, and now film photography is quite dead. Hard to believe, not that it happened, but how fast it happened. Having grown up near Rochester NY Kodak Park was a wondrous giant of film manufacturing, and to many of my high school and college contemporaries, working for Kodak was one of those sure things in terms of employment, but most of those jobs didn't even last one career. All that film, all those chemicals, and no one needs it any more. In thinking about the hours spent in the darkroom, no nostalgic feelings are forthcoming even though there could be something satisfying about seeing what developed, or didn't. Don't miss it even a bit. Even though digital photography lacks the subtlety, the depth of the wet work, the convenience and ease is totally seductive, almost addictive. When each photo was expensive and took considerable time to produce, you took care with the initial shot. You had to actually think about shutter speed and depth of field. Old habits are hard to break and even with a nice digital camera and tons of memory the Phactor still takes pictures like it was a film camera. Now the primary worry is permanence, and already some digital images have been lost, not that the occasional slide or negative weren't lost or destroyed.


Anonymous said...

Well, Phactor, I'll admit that I still miss the darkroom and the magic of manipulating the old black and white film. Of course I do remember as well the weight of the backpack with the two camera bodies, the multiple lenses, etc. etc. that I lugged up and down many miles of many hills. There's something that I'll hand you as a digital advantage.

The Phytophactor said...

Anonymous is right about the magic of watching an image appear. And apparently my memories of lugging photographic equipment were suppressed! My aging back doesn't miss that for a nanosecond.