Op ED: How Film Photography Sometimes Breaks My Heart

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

See that roll of film up above? Notice how there is only one properly exposed image? When I get the roll back, I can’t tell you just how furious I was. This roll was supposed to be something special for all of you. It was shot on a Canon EOS Film body borrowed from a friend with the brand new Sigma 35mm f1.4 that we haven’t finished the review on. We strive to give everyone something different than other publications on the internet, and this roll was supposed to be the final touch on my now even further delayed review. The problem: the camera has a faulty shutter after not being used for nearly 20 years. It’s infuriating and devastating: all that work, the money investment spent into it; and knowing that I’ll need to get back out there and do it all again after borrowing a new EOS film body with no defects. This is what happens when you shoot film, and it’s not the first time it’s happened for me; but it sure is rare.

But not for a second would I ever stop. In digital photography; I can get the shot nearly every time due to my background. I’m a former paparazzi, then a wedding photographer, then an event photographer, and now a headshot and studio photographer. Needless to say, I’ve learned how to get the shot I need. But it’s so easy in digital. When I shoot film, I take a chance. And that’s something no one does these days; take a chance. You end up rewarded with emotions. There’s nothing as thrilling as looking at a perfect roll of exposures and there’s nothing as horrifying or heartbreaking as looking at a roll that went bad. I haven’t felt this heartbroken since breaking up with my ex-girlfriend two years ago. Needless to say, I’ll keep doing it; because the rewards are just so much more worth it. In fact, all of my personal work is done on film these days.

Either way, I thought that this would be a great conversation starter here because it’s just such a human emotion that we all should feel at least once as photographers. Tell us about the roll that went awry for you in the comments below.