Sunday, April 19, 2009

i totally knew that this would happen

I had been thinking for years (YEARS!) that I might want to get back into print photography, perhaps of the lomo variety, just because while digital photography is great for instant gratification, there's nothing like holding that print in your hand. And let's face it, we never make prints of our digital photos, because dude, that's what Flickr is for. But also with respect to print photography, there's sort of that fun guesswork and the economy that the medium forces on you. I will easily fire off thirty shots of basically the same shot digitally (see: my roughly five million shots of Mack lying on a pillow staring blankly at the ceiling), but when I have to actually pay for the film? Well, let's make sure the light and composition and setting are right and DON'T YOU DARE BLINK, KID. Yes, I know, I am making this hobby sound like an absolute blast.

About two years ago, I was this close to buying a Holga, but decided not to, because I was a resident (read: no money) and I didn't want to buy film AND pay for developing AND find out, like, two weeks later that I had made some stupid mistake with the manual settings and ended up with a roll full of completely blacked out shots anyway. But then a while ago, I started thinking, why not Polaroid? True, the film is more expensive, but I am impatient, and spoiled by digital besides, so I liked the idea of seeing how I screwed up one minute later, not, like, a month later, when I can't even remember what I did when I took the picture. I ended up (in a pique of righteousness, after I, though my own incompetence, didn't win a bid on some cheapy old Polaroid on eBay despite the fact that no one else bid on the item) thinking that Polaroid film was defunct anyway, why buy into a dying medium, and getting this hilariously bulky Fuji Instax 200 instead as my gateway drug. But who am I kidding, I'm probably going to end up getting a cheapy old Polaroid on eBay anyway and thus squandering away the rest of my already ill-spent youth trying to figure out the dying art of instant film photography while all the kids look at me strangely as they glide by on their hoverboards and jet packs. (It will be THE FUTURE, you see.)

Anyway, here was my first roll. Please excuse the lack of a scanner, our old one decided to go all Skynet on us and started making strange sentient human-killing noises, so we unplugged the thing and are deciding if it is a lost cause to try and fix it (likely) or if we will end up needing to get a new scanner. Anyway, I already spent all my money on film, what else do you want from me, people? (Note to Joe: Not really! Don't worry, we still have money! Anyway, Cal probably won't want to go to college anyway.)

What you can determine from this first roll is that I do not know how to use this camera indoors. It cannot focus worth a damn closer than oh, say, 4-6 feet, and I cannot figure out how to turn off the flash, which accounts for the three completely dark photos that I tried to take in the subway station, as well as the two obligatory shots of myself in the mirror. But the outdoor shots worked rather better, and I do like how the camera renders blues.

Second roll. Getting better. OK, so the other thing that you need to know about this camera is that it looks freaking ridiculous. Seriously, like people may laugh at you when you whip it out. I looks like Cal's toy camera, only even more huge. Also, the photo shoots out the top instead of the bottom, which is like--what? Problems I have been troubleshooting include how to get the shot centered (I am used to using SLR so I'm not used to the viewfinder not lining up with the lens--see the totally off-center picture of the Yo Gabba Gabba dolls on the bottom left), what settings to use in different lighting conditions, and remembering to set my focus distance from near to far when I'm shooting different things. (Not that it really shoots anything that near. No macro setting on this thing, that's for sure.)

It's surely not as retro-cool as shooting with some of the old Polaroid cameras, which would make me feel like I was on "Mad Men," chain smoking and wearing high-wasted skirts and living in a state of quiet despair and whatnot. But it was a good start, especially since I knew (know) nothing about instant film photography and at least I didn't have to figure out how to use a second-hard camera from the 1960's with a discontinued battery and no instruction booklet, not even knowing if the camera was functioning or not. However, I fear that I will be there soon. Perhaps adopting this hobby was unwise.


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