I recently got some film developed that had been sitting in my drawer for at least 4 years. Turns out, it was a lost roll from my homemade camera that was part of a class in college. As I scanned all the film from my last outing, I found this among them and was really very surprised. I had totally forgotten about this roll, and was pleasantly surprised it even had images on it. There’s a significant amount of wonder attached to these images now, especially since I can’t even remember where they were shot.
Ghostly trees, blown by an unseen wind, blurred by time and weather. It’s almost haunting, but it’s beautiful. The idea that these trees may not be there anymore, blown down in some storm or battered by hail and rain, makes it all the more interesting. If I were able to return to these locations, could I even pinpoint where they stood? And if I shot them again, would the image have the same impact or meaning? I don’t think so.
Using my older cameras again really brings to the forefront of my mind how much I love lomography and broken images. The blatant and unabashed imperfection brings a smile to my face. The picture cannot be “fixed” no matter how much I may try to edit it and bring depth back into a faded shot. It bears an image and I can only make that image visible. Nothing I can do now will make the shot sharper, or better composed, or correct the color (though I try).
Take this shot for example. When I looked over the negative roll, I couldn’t even see any content worth scanning on the film, but I took a chance anyway. And it was only on the third look that I noticed the people in the left side of the exposure. It’s shots like this that make me look closer and think about what I’m seeing. I could take all the crisp, colorful photos in the world, but ultimately a blurry shot from a perfect moment will always mean more.
And thus, the end of the roll. Just as we don’t get to choose our end point, when I’m working with an old or broken camera, I don’t get to choose when I’m done. I’ll go to roll the next frame, and the canister just says no. Nothing to do about it but accept what’s been decided and move forward. I still love this shot, however. It’s the fractured moments that bring us closer to understanding our place in this chaotic world. Always a good time.