Film is *magick*
I LOVE photography. Recently, I purchased a film camera from Lomography and decided to shoot a test roll. It’s been easily 20 years since I’ve shot on a film camera that wasn’t disposable, and I was slightly intimidated. But again, film is pure magic and stretching beyond our comfort is a sign of growth.
Film as Intentional Medium
The beauty of film is that it is completely intentional. You can’t take a million photos of the same thing and hunt for the best one to post to social media for instant gratification. Every photo you take becomes precious, an intentional capture of time and energy surrounding you in that moment.
This intentional act of photography becomes grounding and meditative in its own rite. Literally, connecting our bodies to not only our surroundings but the earth and film itself.
35mm Rites of Passage
There’s a sort of ritual aspect to shooting on film because you have to be completely in the moment, aware of your space and surroundings. You set up, check the camera, check your space, decide if this is what you truly want to use a frame capturing. Deciding if the moment you are in is worthy of being remembered in such a way. When you know there is a finite number of shots per roll, each photo becomes precious.
The thing about working in film, is that while you are choosing to capture a moment, the universe might have other plans. You don’t *know* if the photo you took will come out, if it’s over/under exposed or blurry. You have to live as equally in the moment to remember what is happening.
Not to put down digital photography because I certainly love it too, it’s convenient (we can just pull out our phones) it can block our brains from literally living in the moment and creating a full long term memory. With film we are forced to live in the moment because we cannot see what we are shooting. It is the universes checks and balance of photography. The best of both worlds if you will
Once the photos are shot, you practice patience. In this day and age it can be a little daunting to find anyplace that even processes the film anymore. Since i have a specialty camera I used the lomolab. I waited while I shipped my film, they received it, then processed and scanned it back to me. This took about two weeks. And then, the moment of truth via an unobtrusive email: “your scans are ready to view”
The art of film is completely intentional and allows you to live more fully in the moment while still taking memory photos. Film is a sort of devotion, if you will. If anything I hope to see more people turning back time and picking up an old fashioned camera again🤗
All photos taken by me
Temperance Alden is an Occultist, Folk Witch, and Author of Year of the Witch (2020). She is based out of South Florida.