The Last Film I Loved

I believe there is a sense of loss in most of the photos in my personal projects. Perhaps that’s just my own interpretation. I have this obsession with loss and mortality. I’ve heard some people say that the act of photography (or art) is an attempt to hold back time. To immortalize something. Does it calm the fear of the inevitable? Though change is often times desired, most of us are afraid of change. Is this related to a sense of loss? That things we once had or knew are no longer? It shows us that those things were never really ours to possess. Or only to possess for a moment in time…time which is beyond our grasp. For me, the loss in my photos is about peace. Giving it. And finding it.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason I love film more than ever. With more and more companies halting film production, you can’t work with the medium without feeling its uncertain future.

If you shoot film, you know that each type of film has it’s own character. Some are grainier than others. Some are smoother. Some films tend to have stronger blues and greens. Others stray towards reds and yellows. Some seem to have an endless variety of grays. Others seem almost all black and white.

I had tried various negative films before getting into slide films. But just one roll of Kodak’s Ektachrome P1600 and I was hooked.

KKEPH36U

Ektachrome was originally released in the 1940s and was used in both the still and motion picture industries. It was also used extensively by National Geographic…so if you’ve seen photos from Nat Geo throughout the ’70s to the ’90s, you’ve seen Ektachrome. The P1600 version is an ISO 400 film marketed to be used at ISO 1600 and push-processed. (If you don’t know what that means…don’t worry about it…or email me.)

Though I first tried Ektachrome back in 1992, I didn’t try the P1600 version until 2005. I fell in love with it but didn’t get a chance to go through many rolls before Kodak discontinued the film in 2007. I recently finished an old roll. It had been sitting in one of my cameras as I was busy doing digital work. Still, why did it take me more than three years to finish the roll? Maybe I was having a hard time letting go.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got it developed since it’s been years passed the expiration date. You can see color casts, loss of contrast, and color shifts. Many of the frames didn’t even come out.┬áBut if you’re like me, you’ll also see something extremely appealing about the way they feel.

Despite their flaws and inconsistencies, these pics are still special to me. They are probably the last frames of this beloved film that I will ever use.

I still prefer slide film over color negatives. But now I use Fuji’s Provia. It’s a great film and does its job. Good thing, because it’s not like there are many choices out there anymore. Not that I like it nearly as much as I liked Ektachrome P1600. All things come and go.

Photos were all taken in Nikkormat EL2 and 50/1.4 lens, sometime between last month and 2007.

I asked her if she was afraid. She just shook her head. I was afraid to touch the death I seen in her. I couldn’t find nothin’ beautiful or uplifting about her goin’ back to God. I heard of people talk about immortality, but I ain’t seen it. I wondered how it’d be like when I died, what it’d be like to know this breath now was the last one you was ever gonna draw. I just hope I can meet it the same way she did, with the same… calm. ‘Cause that’s where it’s hidden – the immortality I hadn’t seen. – The Thin Red Line

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