Processed + scanned by Triple D Minilab, Singapore
What is it about this place that saps the spirit?
Is it the heat and humidity? The fast pace of life, the efficiency, the commodification of creative content?
The pleonastic ‘free gift,’ the sense of entitlement, the offense often taken?
The less-than-subtle flavoring indicative of a lack of natural resources?
The lack of solitude, anonymity, and space?
There’s balm/fuel, of course: Access to an enormous collection of books at the public libary. The occasional stirring film, concert, performance, or exhibit. Plus, that very efficiency will get you out of the country smoothly.
Work may consume me when I’m here, but I’m fortunate to have the flexibility to take a portion of my duties on the road (though ironically I’m currently working on automating certain processes).
The road calls. It isn’t adventure and spontaneity I seek, but a shift in environment, conversations with like-minded people or long-time friends, and above all, the space for reflection.
Processed + scanned by Triple D MiniLab
Above: Canon Elan 7E + lightly expired Fuji Natura 1600, shot at box speed.
Hmm. What happened here?
I needed film to shoot indoors at my niece’s birthday party, and Fuji Natura 1600 seemed like the best color option I had on hand. The rolls had expired by two months at most, and had lived alternately in my fridge and freezer since their purchase. But now I’m wondering how many x-ray machines they might have passed through. In retrospect, I would have rated them at 800.
I’ve misplaced my negatives, but it’s clear that I underexposed these images, and that they were soft in focus. The lab had to work with both of these things, and decided to sharpen them – hence the noise, which is most certainly not grain. Note that these images are from my second set of scans; the first set – from Triple D – had more color definition, but were sharpened to the point of severity.
In any case, mea culpa. I’ve got to be more organized with my film stash, and I’ve got to keep basic/reliable color film on hand. I don’t regret shooting active kids on film, or even trying out an unfamiliar film (that’s expired, at that) – but I should have shot one roll, not two.
In situations where I’m likely to rush shots, I might as well go digital for a greater margin of error. But these days, I find that shooting digital on a casual basis is somewhat like reading on a Kindle: it’s convenient, but the pleasure is fleeting; my brain is oh-so-likely to forget what it’s captured.
Processed by Triple D MiniLab, scanned by Yodobashi Camera, Tokyo
Above: Canon Elan 7E + Fuji Industrial “Gyoumu” 400
Toddlers make interesting subjects. They lack the muscle control to escape swoops from adults but possess the energy and persistence to wriggle out of their clutches. They’re curious explorers on the move, but sometimes they focus so intently on one task or motion – who doesn’t love ripping paper? – and then all of a sudden they space out, get lost in their own worlds. And when they become aware of a camera pointed at them, they don’t stiffen in the same self-conscious way that older humans do; they stare.
I shot these photos at my niece’s birthday party last year. I knew I’d be obliged to take some posed group-with-cake shots, so I brought along my digital camera, which is a rather good idea when you sit a one-year-old in front of a cake…
Above: Canon EOS 7D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 + VSCO
Meanwhile, the older children ignored me and my cameras. They drew pictures, puffed into skinny balloons, and – once they’d eaten some cake – flailed about to a synthesized “Happy Birthday.”
I rewound a roll of film, unloaded it, and looked up. Three little pairs of furrowed brows were toddling towards me. Three serious little faces peered as I reloaded my cameras and put away my exposed film. Wingwoman/man, where are you?
Processed + scanned by Yodobashi Camera, Tokyo