The Days of Film

Day 21 #WorldWatercolorGroup Retro Camera Film The Days of Film

Running extraordinarily behind tonight as this is the day before I head to France. After looking at today’s prompt of “camera” my mind immediately went back to the days when I first started taking photos. So we have this 2-color quickie doodlewash of a film cannister. When you were traveling back then, you never quite knew what you were getting a picture of until you got back home and had the film developed. This was actually kind of fun in that you could not only relive your vacation over again, but you could see just how tired, drunk or otherwise preoccupied you were during some of the shots. There were lens flares and crazy apparitions that appeared and it was all part of the experience. You might be photo bombed by some unsuspecting passerby or simply not appear in the frame at all when taking a selfie. While modern digital advancements provide a more certain result, analog had a charm that’s never quite been replicated.

When digital cameras came on the scene I was excited to purchase one and did geek out with all of the various new features. But the photos seemed too crisp and almost sterile, lacking some of the personality I’d grown to love with analog shots. It’s hardly surprising that when Instagram and other apps came on the scene, the first thing they offered were filters to transform your sterile shots into the beautiful irregular looks of the past. I briefly played around with toy cameras and found that digital had already changed me. I lacked the patience to wait until the film was developed to see what I had made. Without the immediacy, I quickly lost interest. Also, I didn’t have the dark room I frequented in college either, so I didn’t feel like I was part of the entire experience.

I think that’s what I love most about sketching and painting with watercolor. It’s quite analog, but still has the immediacy that I crave. Everything happens rather instantly and you can see exactly what you’re making. Just a little bit of drying time for washes means there’s still that little moment when you’re waiting to see what develops. Things still don’t always go as you’d planned, but that does nothing to detract from the wonderful experience. So as I prep to leave the country, I’m instead making sure I have all of my art supplies and sketchbooks. Still perfectly ready to face a new place in analog, but just a bit different from the days of film.

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M. Graham Watercolors: Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.
 Day 21 #WorldWatercolorGroup Retro Camera Film The Days of Film
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you'd like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
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31 Comments
  1. Teresa Robeson 1 year ago

    Bon voyage, my dear! Safe travels and have a wonderful time!

  2. Laura (PA Pict) 1 year ago

    What a lovely study – and definitely a nostalgic one. I do miss the unexpected element that used to occur with film photography plus fun stuff like double exposures. However, the expense of processing meant I tended to play too safe with my shots and not record interesting little details or quick random snapshots of things that caught my eye. Digital photography has permitted me to cast my eye wider in that way.

    Have a wonderful time in France!

    • Author

      Thanks, Laura! 😃💕 And so true…all the experimentation with analog film felt mostly accidental! Lol Digital definitely lets you free to explore creatively with intent.

  3. mterrazas32 1 year ago

    there always polaroid film:)

  4. Teri C 1 year ago

    I’m so excited to see your ‘analog’ paintings. Best wishes for a fabulous trip.

  5. Jodi 1 year ago

    Bon Voyage Charlie! Have a WONDERFUL trip!!!

  6. periwinkleblur 1 year ago

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane 🙂 still love the smell of film.

  7. M. L. Kappa 1 year ago

    That’s why when I travel, I sketch and let others take the photos. Happy landings, my friend 💕

  8. Great doodlewash, I recall the excitement of receiving 24 lovely photos….only to find 10 had come out! It was a magic moment getting photos processed 😀 I hope you get lots of great photos and paintings whilst on your journey. Enjoy and have a fantastic time both of you ❤️❤️

    • Author

      Yeah…I remember thinking 10 good ones was a pretty lucky thing! Lol And thanks so much!! Heading out soon now! ❤️

  9. Margriet Bierens 1 year ago

    Have a safe flight Charlie and a wonderfull stay in Paris.
    So Friday you live in the same time-zone as I am. That’s a nice feeling for a while!
    Bon voyage!

    • Author

      Hehe…I will be!! Not sure when I’ll post yet once I’m there. Not real plans other than getting there. Thanks, Margriet!! 😃💕

  10. beachamfineart 1 year ago

    I remember having to pack my film in a lead free bag for the Xray machines! I also remember going broke when it came time to develop 40 rolls after my first trip to Venice!

    • Author

      Oh my gosh!! I remember those days. But wowser… 40 rolls! That’s truly impressive!! Hehe

      • beachamfineart 1 year ago

        I took 60 rolls with me on my 1st trip to Venice! I remember saying to my husband on the flight over there “what if I’m disappointed? what if it’s not what I hope it will be?”. Oh, Honey! No worries!!! In today’s digital age, I take 3500-4000 images EVERY year when I go over there. I keep thinking, “there’s nothing left to photograph!”. WRONG-O!

  11. Jacob 1 year ago

    Film photography just takes me back to messing about with my father’s cameras, much to his annoyance. With digital cameras, I am mostly just terrified by all the options and settings, especially on the higher end models. I don’t think I’m meant to be a photographer. I do remember the thrill of receiving the packet of processed snaps, though – and trying to work out exactly how each one went wrong. What fun!

    • Author

      It was fun, wasn’t it?! Well…and also perfectly maddening to not know whether things will develop correctly or not. Much like watercolor actually! 😉Hehe

  12. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    I have all my parent’s slides of photos… What do I do with them?! Thank goodness for digital now! And iPhones take amazing photos!!! 🌟👍💕 Have a fabulous trip, Charlie! 😍

    • Author

      Yeah I have slides still as well! There are places that will convert them to digital thankfully. Holding them up to a lightbulb isn’t as much fun!! Hehe 😃💕

  13. filmhousestudios 8 months ago

    Wow, this was beautify put. As someone who’s grown up with nothing but digital I fully relate. Looking at the older films I always craved the personality that digital lacks. It’s probably why Tarantino is my favorite director.

  14. […] why, but it feels good to have these unique memories. Simple things like telephones with a cord, camera film, or maps made of paper that made it possible to actually get lost sometimes. Though, it’s […]

  15. Sharon Nolfi 4 days ago

    In many ways I still prefer film to digital. I like you painting of the roll.

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