A Biography of My Film Photography | MackDyl Media
Me and My brother circa 1997 (disposable camera)
For the majority of my childhood, we relied on film cameras to capture our precious memories and had no idea how they would turn out until we dropped them off at a one hour photo lab or even sent the film off to a pro lab waiting anywhere from an hour to a few days to see what we got!
Me and my brother with our Great Grandparents circa 2000 (Point and shoot 35mm camera)
When I first heard about digital cameras the concept of instantly seeing a photo you just took outside of a Polaroid camera was foreign to me! On a tangent my first experience with a Polaroid was with my paternal grandmothers Polaroid in my kitchen when I was little the fact that I could see a photograph taken less than a few minutes ago blew away my young mind!
The first question I had when I learned about digital cameras was “how do you develop the pictures?”. My whole life to that point film cameras were all that I knew about! I found out that the photos had to either be printed from a home computer printer which we didn’t even have at the time or had to be brought to a digital photo kiosk at a local store! The concept of sharing photos online outside of email was foreign to me! Another concept that was foreign to me is that the cameras could take hundreds or thousands of photographs vs the typical 24, 27 (disposable camera), or 36 photos due to the physical limit of a film cassette!
My family kept using film to take all of our pictures until around 2006 when I was a teenager! For the majority of my teenage and young adult life! All of my memories where shot using digital cameras.
Taken in Plattsburgh, NY 2015 (Canon Rebel G SLR with color negative film)
The next time I revisited film was when I went to college at SUNY Plattsburgh I was home for winter break when I went to the Goodwill in Rotterdam and saw an old Canon Rebel G Film SLR. It was listed for $50 but half off that day! When I brought it home my parents told me their doubts on whether the camera would even work because they had a horrible experience with the original canon rebel camera that had the infamous “Sticky shutter” issue that rendered the investment my dad made useless! Thankfully the camera worked and I was able to develop the film at the last one hour photo in Plattsburgh at Rite Aid!
Taken near Darien, GA in 2018 (Nikon FE with slide film)
In the mean time I used that camera to teach me how to use a DSLR that I was saving my money for! The one hour photo lab in Plattsburgh closed at the end of the semester in 2015 leaving me no option but to use my new digital camera. My interest in film photography didn’t reignite until I bought an old Nikon SLR from the 1970s after college! A few months earlier in 2016 I was in an digital media design class with professor Haina where she told me that there is still a photo lab in Albany called Mcgreevys pro lab that develops all types of 35mm and 120 film. I brought my film there to be developed when I shot color negative and slide film!
Central Park Disc Golf Basket 2020 (Nikon F2 with black and white negative film)
Most recently during the end of last year I decided that in 2020 I would shoot and develop my first roll of black and white film using an old camera I gambled on the fact that it even works! Just last week I successfully developed my first roll of film and scanned it with amazing results! I went to buy another roll of film yesterday to find out that Kodak increased their prices due to a surge in demand that the key can’t keep up with! Despite this hopefully temporary setback I hope to continue to experiment with old fashioned developing techniques to see this summer if I can do astrophotography with a film camera!
As far as digital vs film I believe the quirks of both forms of photography can teach you the values of photography that can lead to your own personal growth in different ways! I’m one of the youngest people that remembers the days of film photography being mainstream and I’m happy to see a new generation who has never had the experience of shooting film to learn the history of what it took to get to where we are today!