Friday, March 20, 2009


I still use "film". Every time I buy a new roll I wonder how long it will be before film passes away like home movie reels and polaroid cameras. If I had digital options, I could pretend that film is uber-cool and superior and artsy but difficult to be plausible when comparing film -produced photos to the digital sisters.

Film Can't Compete
The competitive nature within rises when I know my photos can't compete. Frustration results from the playing field's unevenness. I feel handicapped.
Film is delayed gratification. I remember the day when people had to wait an entire week to get photos back from the drugstore. I also remember taking film to quality developing studios where each photo was hand developed. In today's world, development only takes an hour and even that seems long.
We just returned from an important weekend at West Point. With twenty four pictures on a roll, I took four rolls of film for a total of ninety six photos. Once upon a time, that was considered good documentation. In comparison, a digital photographer would have returned with five hundred pics. Knowing about the luck-factor in photography, the odds are against the film guys.
And another thing: Whenever I say to a random person, "Would you please take our picture?" (and this is done only in the "big" moments), the photo always returns to me with something chopped off or, even with an auto-focus lens, blurry. It's simply a fact on which I can always count.

Always the Photographer
Now I am brought to the present point regarding Plebe Parent Weekend and its photos which returned from Target (and, yes I did wait an entire day for them). Out of the four rolls, there were some keepers. For that I am thankful because I know that is not always the case because there are no re-do's with film. Here's the point: Where am I? Me. The mom part of "parent". Always the photographer, never in the picture. Turns out in the one photo I allowed myself to enter, the ole chopping block syndrome came to visit.

Pictures That Last Forever
When Stuart was small I caught him doing a very strange thing one day. He would put his index finger under his eye and jerk it up and down once at a time very quickly. And, then, he would turn his head slightly and repeat the motion.
"Stuart, what are you doing?" I asked him after observing this several times.
"I'm taking pictures with my mind," was his reply. And he switched to the other eye like it was the most normal thing a kid could do.
"Why did you do that?" I inquired again.
"I ran out of film," he answered with the confidence of a professional photographer.
I believed him then...and I still do. The photographs taken by our minds are superior to both film AND digital.
Guess what? I'm in every one of those pics.

Does anyone else have this problem of never being in the photo?


  1. Hi :) That was a really sweet post! I have to admit though, I do wish I saw more pics of you with your boys!

    Thanks again for your comment on my blog - that's so funny how we both love croquet balls AND yard sticks! Yes, I make frames w/ mine :) I have an idea for some folk type artwork with them too, but I haven't tried that yet. I'm going to need to find a whole bunch on eBay or wherever.

    I am loving a cold, windy, sunny day here today and relishing my alone time! I hope you are enjoying your day today as well!

    Meg :)

  2. I'm a few days late to this post, but I absolutely loved reading it. As an amateur photographer (, I have often thought about how the nostalgia of film will be something that future generations will never fully appreciate. Even I am teetering on the cusp of begrudging film rather than loving it. I certainly enjoyed it when I had the access to a darkroom, where I could be in control of the development process, but these days, I'm an all digital girl. And yes -- I'm the one who takes 500 of something to whittle it down to only the 50 best.

    Even though we don't have children yet, my primary reason for getting into photography was quite selfishly so that I could take portraits of my own babies. I already grieve at how little I will actually be "in" the shot with them, though. I'm ALWAYS the one behind the camera, and not in the captured moment. I have noticed that just in the first couple years of marriage - Jason and I have so very few photos of "us". What a sweet perspective little Stuart had in taking his own portraits through his eyes. I guarantee that you are in every single one of those, and they will make far greater of an impression on his memory than any piece of paper. I want to be the kind of mom someday that lives for those moments.