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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About the Doodlewash

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

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32 thoughts on “The Days of Film

  1. 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!

  2. 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 ❤️❤️

      1. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. I think it is interesting to see that film is making a comeback. More like polaroids I think, which never had the charm of the film cannister that you’ve captured so well. We’ll see how long this fad lasts.

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