January 06, 2016

Muscle Memory

Music | Three on Two (Live) by Fred Anderson

It has been years since I processed roll film. I remember back at Loop Jr. College, where I took my first photography class with Ms. Jensen, she had us learn to load our film on to the more difficult stainless steel reels and tanks. I think her thought was, plastic was for amateurs! I always appreciated that as when I started to work as an apprentice to professional photographers, I fit right into any darkroom I encountered. I cannot fathom the thought of how many rolls of film I have processed, but of course as the digital technology took over, my exercise in developing film increasingly lessoned to nothing for years! Only on the rare occasions after 1999 where I wanted to entertain the past did I shoot a roll of 35mm or 120 film.

A little less than a year ago, I purchased a 1958 Yashica Mat LM. Dara started the roll over the summer, but never finished shooting it. Having the desire to shoot with that camera, I finished off the roll earlier today and processed this evening. I was surprised at how without much thought, how I separated the paper and film from the 120 roll. With just a minor hesitation, I slipped the paper end of the film onto the clip of the reel and with an ever so gentle bend, started to wind the film onto the reel. Several thousand times I went through those exact same motions. It was as if I was put back into the late 80's in either my own darkroom or of a photographer who I freelanced for to process film shot from a Hasselblad, Canon or Nikon...

Ms. Jensen taught me well...

...and I am sure would be proud

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