It was a beautiful sunny day. You were whistling with your hands in your pockets, walking down the street and smiling to everyone as you wished them a good day, when that odd object catches your eyes: a beautiful TLR camera inside an antique shop. You think about it for a few minutes and decide to take it home. It’ll look great on your TV rack.
As soon as you get home, you start to examine it. Surely something so old couldn’t be working anymore. Since you are a bit schooled in the “ways of old”, meaning that you can use a camera other than the one in your cellphone, you mess around with it and find that yes, it still works. Maybe it’s a bit jammed here and there, but the speeds sound all right and the lens is surprisingly clean. The fresnel screen seems magical. It has so much personality.
You search for its manual online. So it uses 120 film, huh? The famous medium format, prohibitively expensive in digital cameras. When you used film cameras, back in 2000, the only film you used to see was the good old 135, commonly known as 35mm, which you used on a soapbox camera. You find it online and buy a couple rolls just to see what happens. It’s not that expensive. You’ll get twelve square pictures out of it. Feels like a novelty, but you are a curious person.
The film arrives. You watch a tutorial on how to load the camera, and do so easily. Then you download a photometer app and try it. You set the diaphragm aperture and the shutter speed, cockle the shutter, compose very carefully and press the button.
The first picture was taken. It was… Simple?
Did you forget something? No, that’s all there is to it. Oh, don’t forget to wind the film! Eleven more to go.
You finish the first roll. You really tried to make every picture count. A few family portraits, some beautiful architecture pictures, etc, etc. As you try to recall, they all seem quite different.
You go the lab. Oh, so you can print and scan the negatives? Yes, please, do both. Just take my money. Now you’ll have to wait anxiously until the day after tomorrow so you can see the results.
The day arrives. You tear apart the envelope to see the prints. Hmm, not bad. Ten good pictures out of twelve. The 4″x4″ square prints are so small, though. You turn on the computer to see the scans and then your mind is blown. That pretty grain. Those pastel colors. That cerulean sky.
Poof, it happened. You are in love with film.