Sometimes, when I remember, I shoot pictures on film. I have an old Minolta X-570 (circa 1983, when they were first made) which I got in Toronto at Henry’s around 1999/2000. I say “when I remember” ‘cause it’s so much easier—and cheaper—to grab my digital camera or iPhone. I used to use the Minolta a lot—it was my primary camera—and then I got my first digital camera (a Canon PowerShot SD1000 Elph), and, just like that, I was taking digital photos and my Minolta started collecting dust. I probably would have kept taking photos on film if practically every film lab hadn’t shut down at roughly the same time. That was around 2006, when this photo was taken on my way to the St. Peter’s Abbey writing retreat, in Saskatchewan. I like to call this photo "Self Portrait with Tampon Dispenser." :)
Julien’s a photographer, so when we started dating, I showed him my Minolta and said it wasn’t working properly. He took a look at it, and it turns out I had the batteries in it backwards. Lol! Once he got it working, I started using it again. I even took the camera on our first date, up to Ingonish Beach.
I still haven’t gotten those Ingonish Beach photos developed, but, that’s ok. It was a bit of an adjustment, at first, storing the film in the fridge or freezer to wait till I had the money or found a place to develop the film. I finally did find a place—the Antigonish Five to a Dollar store. Turns out they have one of the last film labs left in Nova Scotia. I brought them 6 rolls of my film last spring and then Julien scanned them. And I finally got around to posting a few of the photos on a film photo page.
Taking film and waiting to develop it is a great way to practice patience. Even years ago, when I lived in Toronto, I could get a spent roll of film developed within an hour. Film, just ten years ago, was much more immediate. And digital, well, it’s faster than saying “instant.” What a treat it is to finally see film I shot two or more years ago. When everything now is fast, film is such a lovely and rewarding way to slow down.
Don’t get me wrong: I love digital, and I love Instagram. But I forgot how gorgeous film is—the depth of field, the painterly colours—even looking at a film photo brings you back to the place it was taken so much more than digital. You really sink into the photo. I just gotta start remembering to take my Minolta with me whenever I go for a walk.