I was raised on film.
Not movies, but camera film. Black and white, Tri-X, Pan-X, reels, upstairs bathroom-turned-darkroom, developer, fixer, and my dad's guiding words. I was raised in a mostly Nikon family but I think there was an Olympus or two in there as well. I understand ƒ-stops, film speeds, shutter speeds, grain, depth of field, and lossless paper. Oh, and slides, let's not forget slides.
Then the world changed: it went digital. And everyone with a phone immediately thought themselves as a trained photographer. Do these kids even know why most of their pictures are just plain bad? As time went by I abandoned my SLRs for point-and-shoots, then those for the camera in my phone. Over time I found myself longing for more control on occasion. I wanted to open the shutter for a more shallow depth of field or taking pictures in a dark venue, or wanted a longer exposure for waterfall shots, but was held captive to the fixed settings in the phone. I could only play with image afterwards with editing apps. I never became a master of post-editing apps, that's not how you did it. Maybe modern trained photographers did it that way, but I was raised on film.
Recently I acquired a Hasselblad 503 from my dad from someone in his retirement village who "couldn't use it anymore." It's a medium-format camera that uses film. Real film. And needs a separate light meter, but that's a whole other topic for discussion later.
A couple weeks ago I finally got it out to try. With only a 12-exposure roll of film, I found myself really searching for my shots and giving up a trigger finger. My brain was slowly reverting back to "art" mode from the present-day "disposable" mode. It wasn't like I could press the delete button at the end of the day if I didn't like something or if the horizon wasn't level. Each image had to be worth something. However, still true to this mobile lifestyle, I hand-held the camera and didn't use a tripod (even though the camera is very heavy compared to my Nikon).
I found an online company that still develops film and I mailed off my first exposed roll the other day. I am trying to wait patiently for the prints (Yes, paper prints!) to get mailed back to me. I'm nervous and excited at the same time about the results. What if I wasted the whole roll? What if there was dust on my lens? What if the shutter speed was too slow and everything is blurry? What if I lost my "eye" and my photography roots are all a sham? We shall see. Stay tuned. I'll tape up some of the prints here when I get them back.
1 month ago