Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I've never understood Foodies. I mean, I love a good meal and all but I have a hard time justifying the high cost of a fine dining experience. $100 and I have a beautiful necklace to wear over and over but a meal? I mean, it is with me for a little while and then, well ... you know. And I understand it is the concept of the total pleasure of this experience and the memories it creates and the fact that it is by nature a passing thing. You taste, savor, sip and smell and wave after wave of sensation rolls through you. And I've had some incredible meals: Michelin Star restaurants in the Loire Valley; an epic afternoon lunch in Umbria where bottles of wine were swilled down like so many juice boxes at a daycare; and family meals of all my comfort foods. I get the concept of a Foodie, but I guess I am too practical, too materialistic a person to indulge myself that way.
Until now. And what is my passion? Is it savory, rustic fare? Or the fresh, bold flavors of fusion cuisine?
It is film. To be precise, Polaroid film.
I am always late to the scene with any trend and it comes as no surprise I am embracing the notion of Polaroid photography when the last vestiges of original Polaroid film are long gone - or being hoarded in refrigerators and saved for a special occasion (or the right amount of money). So I have been experimenting with the equally experimental film from The Impossible Project which appears to be the Apple of the film world. People either love them, or hate them ... but we all will probably be using them because they are the only game in town.
I posted my first experiments - and experiments they are as my Ebay purchased Land Camera is a totally foreign beast for me. I have no idea how sensitive it is or how it reacts (over or underexposing) and the film being costly does not encourage much experimentation. And like a true beginner wandering into a casino, pulling a handle on the slot machine and hitting a modest jackpot right off the bat, I was hooked. I got some interesting first shots and having researched online how others were working with the film (the first batch of color film appropriately called "First Flush") I felt ready to whip out another pack and capture some real polaroid magic.
Did you get the analogy of this process with gambling? With winning right away and then endless chasing the dream "this next pull will be it!" Add the image of dollar after dollar being dumped into the slot machine and each pull resulting in ... yes, lemons. Or in my case, Sludge.
There are 8 shots in a pack, which makes each shot cost a little over $2. Unless you factor in all the wasted shots, in which case here is my $17 shot - the only one not looking like a close up of coffee with curdled milk:
After this experience you would think practical old me would hang it up and wait for things to get less experimental. But here is where I finally get the Foodies - where the experience and the allure of Polaroid photography and The Impossible Project make sense and indeed sink their hooks into me. There is the mindset of knowing each shot is precious and costly and that I need to take my time, not rush things and savor each potential shot. Then there is the moment of pressing that magic red button, hearing the snap and then the whir of the film being ejected from the camera. With Impossible film you have to shield it right away and let it develop upside down for at least 90 seconds before stealing a peak to see what you got. The anticipation is palpable. And this film can take days for all of the details to flesh out, so there is a lingering enjoyment, if indeed it rewards you with an image.
I love all this. I love the excitement of not knowing, of hoping, of trying again and again. And the rush of success when a picture is captured. Yeah, I am probably loving some pretty mundane shots, but they are my shots won after much toll and determination. I will hold out for the new batch of color film. I did send in samples of my Sludge work to customer support for feedback. They were incredibly prompt in answering another question I had and actually issuing me a credit for film that had stuck together, two shots coming out at once. I appreciate what they are trying to do and I love that in a small way I am part of a Pioneering movement. But instead of a rifle over my lap as we cross the plains, I am holding my lovely ivory and chocolate SX 70.
So in the spirit of Fearless Adventure, I opened up a new package of the sepia-like PX 100 Silver Shade film and began a new adventure. Only one picture, but at least I got one! Looks promising ... and as any gambler knows, you've got to play to win!
Or in the case of a Foodie, you have to risk indigestion for the chance to taste heaven.
Fingers crossed, I'm through with my Sludge stage!