Here’s a question that’ll make you think and make you smile. When was the last time you loaded film into a camera? In my case, it’s more than two years and I have a film-based Canon EOS that I haven’t used since 2005.
We all had our favourite brand of film, didn’t we? And we all bought a particular speed of film, in the fervent hope that we would be shooting every frame in the same weather conditions and in the same light. But in the case of most amateur photographers, it was customary to have the same film in the camera for weeks on end.
You’d take the film in to your local dealer and you’d stand there, looking at the prints and wondering why the final result was not always as good as you imagined. My local Kodak dealer has long gone, swept away by the commercial reality of digital technology.
Time was when I’d pay $15 for a roll of film, back in the days before you could buy multi-pack Kodak rolls. On top of that, developing and printing was another $15-$20. I generally opted for 24-frame film rolls, rather than 36-frame rolls, so that I could see the results quicker. Now it’s not uncommon for us to take that many shots - and more - in a few minutes on a digital camera.
If you were married before 2000, I’d say your wedding photos were taken on a film-based camera. When Mrs Authorblog and I were married, we were lucky to have several people using cameras in church and at the reception. Because of this, we stocked up on really good-quality film, which we gave to all our friends who planned to use their cameras on the big day.
I had a really good plan. Anyone who completed a roll of film that day would simply drop off the roll in a pre-arranged container (clearly marked) and would help themselves to a new roll of film from a different container (also clearly marked).
I even had a back-up plan in case someone - perish the thought - put a used film into the container for unused films. It was simple, yet foolproof. If a film spool was entirely wound off a camera, it was possible that a tab of film, a few millimetres long, would still protrude from the spool. I simply asked everyone to use the black knob above each spool to wind the last remnant into the spool entirely.
In such a case, if anyone picked up a used film by mistake, it would be impossible to load the film into a camera.
The concept was great, the execution was (almost) flawless.
After the wedding, I knew there would be several unused films in the appropriate container. So just before we flew out on our honeymoon, I grabbed a few spools of film and we departed for the airport. When we returned, I took these and all the films shot at the wedding to a special photography store.
A couple of days later, I went to pick up the prints and returned home with an armload. As the family members began looking at the prints, someone exclaimed: "Something’s not quite right here."
Bad feeling. B A D feeling.
The truth dawned very slowly. At our reception, someone had a) not wound off a film completely and b) dropped the film into the wrong container.
Each of the 36 prints was a double exposure. They were ghostly composite images. The first exposure in each case showed our closest friends beside us at the end of the wedding reception. The second exposure on each print was a view from the wonderful beachside resorts we had visited on our honeymoon.
For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.