Prose, poetry, fiction, and rambles from people with a bit too much time on their hands.

a little bit about film

I revel in obsolescence.

There’s a moment that I remember well enough to write it without filling in too many gaps with flowery prose, that happened a few years ago. My mother handed me a small plastic square, roughly a millimeter or so in thickness and painted a shade of purple reserved for dinosaurs that preach about sharing. There was a paper label affixed to it, with scribbles in Spanish written in ballpoint pen. I was sitting at this very computer at the time, and now, when I try remembering how I wasted my time on it those few years ago, my mind is drawing a blank. There’s something that has to be said about spending hours on end punching in keys on a black plastic machine and not being able to remember what you were doing punching in those keys. If I were to make my best guess, it would be that I was typing up some bitchery at my now defunct personal blog.

Yes, I’ve been doing this for quite some time.

She asked me if what she handed to me still worked. It was a 3.5 inch floppy disk, which held a meager 1.5 megabytes of something or other. Being a smartass, I said something along the lines of “Of course!” while thinking something along the lines of “…Barring it wasn’t stored while surrounded by magnets.” I proceeded to look around the sides of this computer, looking for the appropriate port into which to load the disk. After a minute or so, I realized there wasn’t one. I asked my mom where she got the disk from. “Oh, from an old professor,” She responded. “He’s eighty-something, legally blind, and going deaf; but he’s also one of the most interesting teachers I’ve had,” I was already lost in the thought of something else. “Kinda feel bad for the guy, actually. His computer must be so old! Oh well.” What had affected me most about this exchange was the fact that something that in my youth was commonplace had finally become obsolete. I still remember a twelve or thirteen year old version of myself, saving a Powerpoint presentation onto one of those things and handing it in to a teacher, or loading it onto one of their computers. The sound of the catch releasing after loading up one of those floppys into a computer is still ingrained in the depths of my memory.

There’s something about the sound of a mechanical click.

I recently bought an old film camera at a garage sale I wasn’t really interested in going to. It’s funny how that works out, in the garage sales that I see on a Sunday drive and instantly feel as if I will find some hidden gem, an old Nintendo system or a Polaroid camera or a piece of paper worth ten thousand dollars, I usually find scraps, interesting trinkets such as a deck of playing cards old enough to legally gamble with itself, but nothing really worth buying. The ones that someone else suggests us going to, and I only oblige because of my desire to not do more important things, are the ones where I find things that are pretty okay. This week’s exploits resulted in the purchase of a camera that’s older than my brother, and that I have no idea how to use.

The technology is inherently obsolete. There’s no real reason I should be lugging around something that uses film to take pictures when I have something that’s half its size and holds ten times as many photos as a roll of film. And can shoot video. But then again, I get caught up in the whimsy of not really knowing how a photo turns out (if it turns out at all; I’ve already shot a roll that ended up being blank) until handing the roll over to the helpful looking guy at my local Walgreens (because quite frankly, I don’t know any better). Film is comparatively expensive. Processing makes it even worse. A camera that I bought for fifteen dollars will probably end up costing me more than that if I decide to really get into photography. But there’s something about something as analog as this still providing some degree of relevance thirty or so years later. And damn if turning the lever to advance the film one frame isn’t one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

A friend of mine is in love with bolt action rifles for the very same reason.

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One Comment on “a little bit about film”

  1. 0ut0fc0ntext says:

    It’s something about the human interaction that makes mechanical mechanisms so awe-inspiring. The physics are held within the device, ready to force a bullet casing into the barrel of a rifle, or to rotate a section of film into its proper position in a camera, but without the guidance of a human hand that is guided by human discretion the science is wasted. Mechanics are an extension of the human body, created by the human mind to satisfy human need. What is more empowering than utilizing that extension, and discovering that it performs its designated task time after time after time?
    On a less serious and less poetic note, artificial intelligence can suck my dick.


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