Word came down today that Kansas City's premiere photo lab will no longer process film - black & white or color - as of January 1, 2007. Just not profitable anymore, they've informed us. I have gotten various e-mails from fellow photographers titled "End of an Era" and "The Good Old Days are Over." Not only do I feel sad, but I also feel old, dinosaur-like really. (I mentioned this to one pal, and he quickly shot back this response: You, Gloria, are aging like a fine wine... in my case, it's more like cheese. Thanks, Michael. That made me feel a little better).
Anyhow, what does this mean to someone like me who actually does still shoot film? (I know, you're gagging at this point, choked with disbelief and horror). It's true. My Hassie still gets a very good workout. For my portrait work, that's pretty much all I use, and for my fine art stuff, it's the same sad tale. I know, I know - I can still process film in my own darkroom (still one of my favorite rooms in our house) but when a person has 25 rolls of 120 on a Monday morning, lots of shooting to do, letters and emails to write, a foundation to nurture, laundry to tend to, volunteer work, grocery shopping to do, well, you get the picture... (Please, no violins). I have jobbed out my film processing to Custom Color for many, many years. A couple of years ago, I even started jobbing out most of my printing (Jesse, you're the best), due to a lack of time and a sore back and legs from standing in the darkroom all day. I guess I could send the film to a lab out of town, but that seems complicated. Still (she whines) this is just not right. I am not ready!! Does this mean I have to make the plunge for real, for good, for sure, to the digital side - no turning back?
I suppose I knew the day was coming. Who have I been trying to kid, anyway.
There's something really beautiful about film. There is a quality to a silver print that is timeless and lovely and magical and wonderful, and well... silvery!
There is also that connection to my younger self, I guess.
Okay, so let it go, Gloria. Grow up, get real, join the 21st century. Grab your CF card and march with your head held high to your nearest computer to begin downloading!
I'm trrryyyyying (moan, whimper).
Wait, just let me run one more roll of film through my 30 year old plastic toy camera, Diana - you know, for old times sake. And can't I take my 40 year old trusty, sturdy, faithful Hasselblad out for a spin just a few more times? You know, just the two of us? After all, we've been together for a long time now.
I am going to miss those two dear friends a lot.