Friday, June 10, 2011


Since the beginning of these China times, I have been taking pictures with my old cameras as well as my digital. As in, film cameras, 35mm. Some colour, some black and white.

I usuall stockpile these little rolls of goodness, happily forgetting what I snapped. When the magic occurs is when the negatives marry chemicals and morph into memories. I love it. The whole process. I always have the digital images from my SLR camera that are so instant, and looking back through them to spark memories is easy. These rolls of film are like the fresh cream to the scone - they so richly complement my process of documentation.

I finally found a place nearby that develops film for a reasonable price, and so I took my nine rolls in. I had absolutely no idea what would be on any of them, if anything. The process is not cheap, and I buy a lot of film off ebay, which is, by nature, unreliable. Sometimes a whole roll, or even carton of rolls, can turn out like this:

Cloudy rectangles of nothing.

But it's all part of the joy, because then some other times, the images come out like this:

I feel that film has the ability to capture a moment with such a heightened level of reality. No matter how many images I see, if they are digital, I am suspicious of editing. I know that it is possible to manipulate film, but I still trust the medium more. I don't edit any of my pictures. Ever. At all. What I take is what appears. With film, I feel like nothing comes between the image and the viewer. Everything you see was there, in reality, at the time the photo was taken.

Things on film are just naturally dramatic - because life is. There is something special lost, when you try to gain convenience by using digital cameras.

I digress.

For the next nine days you'll get the highlights of these nine rolls. In no specific order. There will be flashbacks to all my major trips around China so far. Some rolls span mulitple trips, and others are just of Fudan University. They have all been scanned straight fromt he negatives.

I have also blogged about every single location I have visited, so if you want (read: missed) the stories behind the pictures, I'll try and provide the link to the relevant post as the caption to the image. 

These rolls seem to hold a lot of friend-content. Perhaps there is something about film that makes people want to take pictures of themselves rather than others. I don't know. You don't know the people in the pictures, but I'm sure you can use your imaginations to fill in the affection between us all.

I hope you will enjoy this as much as I do.

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