I was thinking this morning about what I love the most about photography and what I came up with was something I haven’t been able to do for years.
This week was the first week of the Christmas holidays from my main job at university, and at Christmas I tend to ease off on the writing (prose anyway, last Christmas I wrote about 250 poems) unlike last year I have assignments to do for my MA so the luxury of stopping writing altogether for a few weeks isn’t there – but it does become less of a priority. i think it’s healthy to have a break from something that you’re very close to once in a while. But, not content to sit and stare at Only Fools and Horses Christmas Specials for the umpteenth time I do replace writing with something else just as consuming. This year photography.
Guilty confession: This week I bought 3 cameras on Ebay, and would have bought another 2 if I hadn’t bid too low.
Yep, I’m hooked. I’ll probably show pictures of the lomo beauties when they arrive and fill you in on the juicy features. Hopefully I won’t lose my writer-followers, I’ll be back on that in the new year, and with cutaway opening on January 1st it’s going to be a busy period. But for now, it’s me and my 3/soon to be 6 cameras.
And I was thinking back to what I loved when I first did photography proper at university and it was the darkroom. I used to shoot a film in order to get in there. If anyone hasn’t done it, basically you lock yourself in a tiny store cupboard, tun off all the lights, ALL of them and crack the cartridge that holds the film open. The film unrolls all over the place while you try to find the end in the pitch black. Then you have a spool type thing which you feed the film onto – I remember this being quite tricky. Then the spool – hopefully correctly filled – (don’t turn the light on to check) goes onto a dipper and is plunged into the first bath of chemicals whilst you watch the luminous hands of the clock. You stand there for ten minutes in the silence and darkness waiting for the time to reach. Then it is swapped into another bath to fix it, then a third bath to rinse it. Each time you occasionally swish it around to make sure the fluid reaches each part of the film. It was such an adventure to scientifically retrieve the art you had made – digital seems so cold in comparison. I think once it’s in the fix bath you can turn the red light on, but I never used to use any, staying in darkness till the end. Then you can view the negative images on the film – but you dry it first in a drying cabinet for a few hours. After that – it’s to the enlarger, basically shining a bright light through the negative onto a piece of light-sensitive paper – again in the dark – and exposing it for long enough to get the true contrasts.
I miss this process so much – I work at a university which has since abandoned its dark rooms because of digital photography. I can’t help getting excited though when I go on the lomography website and see all the cool cameras and film (but never buy there, their prices are about 50%-100% higher than the cameras are worth). Watch this space is all I’ll say.
Let me know if you remember/love film, or still shoot in film? What is it about old photos that have a nostalgia about them, and when you see the lomography galleries everything seems so exciting and immediate. Digital is too perfect sometimes.
Anyway – some news. I’m off to post another blog on cutaway’s website after this to keep the fans hungry – we open soon, and whilst I think my co-editor will be happy to sit back and let the stories and poems trickle through the letterbox, I’m going to be tempted to read each one as they come. It’s going to be like Christmas until March 1st! Get over there and ‘like’ us if you haven’t already. And check out Sammy Dee and Luby Lou’s blog posts to discover more information about us.
Also – if you’re a female (or even if you aren’t) another Creative Writing associate has started a fiction page over at http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/ a flash lifestyle and gossip magazine for women. Email firstname.lastname@example.org – she requests: Submissions no more than 1,000 words on the subject of new beginnings to coincide with the new year. This can be whatever you interpret it to be. Times new roman, size 12. So get submitting, Lucy is looking for poems and prose and art and photos, so if you’d like to publish something with her send it across – this is the first issue of the fiction page on the Female First Website – and I think her dead line is the middle of January.
Thanks for reading, and to all my followers and passersby MERRY CHRISTMAS!!