Photographic Dreams

Blog, Peace Corps / Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

While I was vacationing in Spain, I realized that I was taking a lot of photos. It happens when I go new places. I have visual overdoses and I feel the need to capture it all. While I’m sure I could go on for ages about how digital photography has taken something away from the traditional photographic art, I won’t. Instead I want to talk about what Spain made me realize, in terms of photography.

Back in high school, I took two semesters of photography. The first semester was 35mm and the second was digital. I loved 35mm far more than digital. Something about the process of it all appealed to me. It was a man-made work of art to me and digital was a machine-made.


35mm photography found me loving a camera. I bought an old Kodak Retina Reflex S, manufactured in the late fifties or early sixties. Its only fault after all these years was that the light meter didn’t work. I bought an external light meter even older than the camera itself. But I digress.  I loved the feeling of the camera. It had weight and it felt good. I loved the sound of the shutter at 1/30th of a second. There are times when I’ll take the camera out, no film loaded, and I’ll just snap away photos at 1/30th of a second just to hear the music of it. I fell in love with the process of turning the exposed film into negatives and the negatives into prints. I’m certain most of them weren’t any good, but the process was soothing.

So, while I was in Spain, I found myself snapping photo after photo to get the best shot. It got me thinking that it shouldn’t be like this. I miss the uncertainty of taking photos. Maybe it’s good, maybe not. I only have 36 exposures on this roll so I’ll hope for the best. It’s a game of chance, roulette, and often ends with craps.

Half the time since then, I’ve found myself debating whether I should write home and have my old Kodak brought to me with a half-dozen rolls of film. But in the end, I always decide against it. My excuses range from wanting to protect my camera (which is hardly something you should do if you want to get some good shots) to not being able to really develop and share my photos until I’m home anyway. However, my mind keeps going back to it.

So today, I started wondering about the possibility of things if I did switch from digital to 35mm again. How would I share my photos? Would I have better photos or would I just walk away thinking crap. The biggest thing for me was the sharing of photos. Why should I take pictures just for myself? If I see beauty in something, I might as well let other people try to see it too.

Since I’m about 5,000 miles away from the nearest Walmart, I can’t just roll up and check my exposure options. Half of me remembers there being an option to have film developed and to receive digital copies from that same film but I really don’t know. My mind makes things up, often. It got me wondering, what if I can’t get the digital copies of my photos? Would I actually spend the time to sit down and scan every photo I take just so I can share them? I doubt it. From my experience, traditional scanners take too long, and the results are rarely as high of quality as I’d like.

But then I thought about, searched for, and found this: Canon CanoScan 9000F Color Image Scanner. It’d allow me to load up ten negatives at a time to scan into the computer. I could archive and share a lot of photos this way. I could even steal my Mom and Dad’s old negatives and load them in there. Oh the possibilities. I could really make a dent in my dream of recent years to archive all my family’s photos. I could do it easily and quicker than I ever imagined. Would you?

I think I’ve found my next photo project. But when do I start? I’m torn between having my sister bring me my old Kodak and a few rolls of film and waiting until I get home to go nuts.

I want your thoughts on the camera. Should I have my sister bring it so I can load up a few rolls of film with images of Ukraine?

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