It wasn’t meant to be

These photos came out of my first roll of B&W film. Given that I was a neophyte film photographer, let along a black and white film photographer, I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Since Japan, especially Tokyo, provided a more consistent access to high quality development labs than in the states, I took advantage and brought a pack of 35mm cartridges and took my Canon AE-1 almost everywhere I went.

Ah, those were the good days — sipping wine, being a nefarious foodie, hopping venues…

I realized recently that since B&W film roll #1, my zeal for digital photography has diminished drastically. Not only that, B&W film roll #1 turned out to be my first, but also my last roll of film. I haven’t touched my AE-1 since shedding a silent tear upon seeing my receipt for the two rolls of color films I developed here in Princeton back in June 2013.

The cost of film & development is not an excuse, however, because I have spent $11 on a bowl of very sad-looking bulgogi — that’s equivalent to developing one roll of film!

You might ask: “What about your fancy Canon 70D?” Well, I realized that ever since I discovered the beauty of films, I became obsessed with rendering digital images as if they were shot on film. However, no matter how much I perfected the grain width or level, adjusted the curves, and played around with colors, contrast, and blurs, nothing came close to resembling the raw beauty of the film.

One of the best compliments I have received is from a college professor, who told me that I stood out to her because I treasured every experience and proactively took on every opportunity presented to me in life.

Perhaps it’s the unavoidable dreariness and complacency that comes along with careerism, or the lack of companions who are interested in photography, but my photography spirits have dwindled to this, and I am on the verge of doing this.

I think it’s time to reignite.


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