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Groups Killed my Passion for Film Photography

Self portrait holding a Zenza Bronica ETRSi 120 film camera

Photography, especially shooting old film cameras, was a passion only five or six years ago. I enjoy slowing down and really looking and thinking about what a picture should become on that piece of analogue film. I loved processing the film in chemicals in the bathroom; I loved scanning them into my computer frame by tedious frame; sometimes I loved to get a picture printed, as well. I never did get around to building that darkroom.

That passion ended for me when it was made clear that I’m not and never will be a part of the film photography community. And it all started with a random tweet by Shelley Sometimes about film photography not being analogue. I’m sorry, but anything that isn’t digitised is analogue. It’s a simple matter of understanding what the hell digitisation is and how it works… but we needn’t go there. Somebody cool told all the cool kids that it was uncool to say analogue in relation to ‘analogue film’ and things got ugly.

There’s nothing quite like a group turning on it’s own for not conforming to the general error-thinking of the group influencers and Gods. And there’s nothing as counterproductive to building or maintaining the passion in your hobby than being filleted online by a bunch of ignorant arseholes who read something preposterously elitist on a demigod designers weblog that insists up is down and black has become white. Seriously, those people can all go fuck themselves for all I care… but the consequences of their vile behaviour have endured.

I simply lost the passion to make pictures. I pulled up 99 percent of my social media identity and now just tweet pictures that other people might enjoy. The focus on that account are nudes… which I rarely created. But they serve a purpose: the fundamental literacy of at least some followers in the recognition of what is and is not a good picture. Of what is and is not the history of photography. Of the scope of the relationship between pictures and humanity. If you see only porn or erotica on that account then you have a grubby mind. Which is fine. But that’s 90 per cent your baggage. Don’t put that one onto me.

Occasionally I pull out the cameras and make some-or-other photographs of the cat. Or family. And I think about making pictures a lot. But I have to say that people inside online communities should think hard about their cause if they purport to be advocates for something as creative as making pictures on film using old cameras.

Being arseholes just killed the passion. It’s like every time I pick up the camera they left a tainted memory. Arseholes like Shelley Sometimes… or Daniel Ko, a camera collector from Hong Kong. Nowadays I tend to make beer, mead and fruit wine more than photographs. Chemistry in a different area. I tend to read books focused on the science behind fermentation, instead of cameras. And I avoid being involved in the communities around beer because of those arseholes that ruined the fun part of making pictures on film. It’s not worth the interaction.

Anyway, some people wonder why I stopped shooting film at a certain time in my life. Why I no longer trawl the streets and graveyards making picture on picture. And that’s the simple answer. People. I still listen to the Film Photography Project and Tips from the Top Floor; I still think about what I want to make pictures of and with and around. I still do a lot of things… I’ve just almost ceased to make the pictures. Not saying that I’ll always be this way. But I’m this way at this time because… and if you’re in online groups you should pay attention.

All groups push towards conformity. By their nature. If the group decides up is down tomorrow, will you follow? I hope not. Just have the sense to get out early and do your own thing. I’d also note that most of them aren’t very good at it anyway. Just like I post images in a genre that I only rarely shot myself. But that’s the fundamental nature of social media… it’s what you do when you aren’t achieving anything. It’s procrastination with validation. It all just fades when you try to touch it. And I should have just kept making pictures without joining them in the first place.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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