I send E6 films away to Brighton for processing and scanning and it’s getting really rather sillylilly and unjustifiably expensive. I’m not going to say an exact amount, because it’s embarrassing and dumb. But I think I mentioned in another post recently that I’ve got 56p on the brain when I press the shutter button.
I’ve just said unjustifiably, and I’m going to try and rationalise that, while discussing film snobbery. Something I’ve probably made up, but that I think I’m falling victim to.
C41 discount film - C41 specific films - C41 specific films ‘cool’ lab - B&W - E6 - E6 Xpro - E6 [insert film name here] only.
That’s how it went for me. I started back into film, ignorant and happy, buying cheap Fuji 200 or Kodak 200 in bulk packs, snapping away and then taking the films to Jessops, getting a free (nearly expired) film when ever I got processing and scanning done. In hindsight, which is nearly always 20-20 the photos were great and I had no reason or rationale in empiricism to change what I was doing! I mean, look at these…
…they don’t seem to be suffering from high-street labs and cheap film, do they? I very much like the washed out feel of the buildings and the rich aged feel of the people.
So why did I take the next step to buying specific C41 films? Much like many of the daft decisions I’ve made in my life, I have no idea why. Actually, I do. Peer pressure. There, I’m going to lay it at the feet of people on Flickr that I must assume are, or of, similar ages and have similar interests, who, started tagging and commenting and posting about Kodak Porta and professional films with exotic names I can’t even recall. But, nevertheless, I ended up buying specific C41 films, and my photography got no better.
Another fit of uninspired snobbery occurred soon after. Lets refer back to the bullet point of snobbery, post specific C41 and ante B&W we end up with 'cool’ labs. There are two sides to this, I’ll examine each.
Reason Number 1: There is/was a man charlatan at Jessops who I dislike.
A) He ignored all of a friend’s logic and requests when trying to sell them a camera and instead just kept going back to the Sony Nex’s panorama feature gimmick. My friend not once said 'sweep panorama’. But he did say, many times over, compact-ultra-zoom-no-interchangable-lenses. Grr.
B) This flimflammer of a dork kept finding reasons why they could not process my film in an hour. I would pop into town, drop off a film, full of hope and delight and this sham-of-a-man would look at the clock on the wall, probably eyeing up an early finish and collude with a quisling who would apologetically shrug their shoulders and say “machine isn’t working?”.
Reason Number 2: I wanted to feel cool, with some hip folk processing my films.
In my mind, I take my film to a bespoke/niche/arty/hip/cool lab and they exert so much love and care in processing that my photos become cooler by association. And… sadly, I think that they’re all sitting around looking at my negs, dressed and talking like Jurgen Haabermaaster about how cool my work is. I, am, a, sad, and, deluded, loser.
In reality, all that happens is I pay through the nose for the privilege of posting my film away, fretting that Royal Mail will lose my memories, then on (one so far) occassion they stuff up my processing because they’re not doing the volume nor have the quality control measures that a high-street chain has, and then I get the film back with a digital scan.
I’m not sure why I thought going to B&W would be any better, but, I’ll allow myself this wee embellishment, because B&W is a pure art form and it is making me a better photographer, I enjoy it. My Baldamatic lives with a B&W film in it now.
But lets skip to E6. This is where it starts to get really expensive and a bit silly. Who can I blame this on: The Lomo kids and their blues? The landscapers and their greens, oranges and browns? The hype surrounding the death of Kodachrome? Bloggers avowing solemnly that slide film is the only way to capture shadows and darkness? Or the knowledge that what you shoot is what you see, that if you’re 1 stop out, your photo is dead and unlike most sympathetic C41 - you cant save it? Oh, dear. Another rather puzzling morass of questions to the reader. I apologise.
Anyway, it wasn’t long before I tried X-Pro, which created the photo at the top of this post, it’s nice, but it’s really green, and I seldom see excellent x-pro in my flickr travels. Except for this absolute gem of wonderment and perfection - really, click the link, go and have a look (photo by apple kimchi).
This one of mine isn’t bad, but again, very green.
But I’m not sure x-pro is for me. Unless I do have a crack at my own home E6 lab and cross-process C41 in it?
But along the next level of snobbery/stupidity I ended up, overnight, a devout Fuji Velvia 50 believer and missionary, which is dumb. Because at 50 ISO, even with ƒ1.4, I can’t take photos of anything without handshake, blur or zero-DOF. What a ninny. Combined with having to post the films away, I have to save up films and £££ to send away batches and then wait a week for their return. So, I wait a week to get crap photos back, that I’ve paid an arm-and-a-leg for. Nutter. If I was shooting cheap expired Kodak 200 and dropping films at Jessops I’d be probably be a bit wealthier and happy.
So, why have I written this? Because confession is the first step to healing. Oh ha, ha, ha. Right, I need to get out of the house, stop talking blithely about a subject I don’t practise enough and keep pressing shutter buttons.