‘tis the season for resolutions, for looking back and for generally taking stock of life. There was a time when I would have written a series of blog posts on these themes incorporating a commentary too on what I’d written about and how regularly I’d actually written during the previous 12 months. Well, spoiler alert, I’m not doing it this year so this isn’t that post. I have however been doing the thinking even if I’ve decided against writing it all down.
I’ve spent almost all of the Christmas period unwell, missing family gatherings, sleeping upstairs all day whilst children and grandchildren all descended on the house on Boxing Day, most disappointing of all though I’ve not been eating and drinking all the festive treats we got in for the holiday. As I write this, Christmas was four days away and there’s only a little over two days left of 2022 and I’m still coughing and spluttering, using at least half a dozen handkerchiefs a day and generally feeling crap. I therefore don’t particularly feel like reviewing the past year or contemplating the next. I just want to feel human again!
And I shall.
One thing that I did ponder on whilst laying in bed on Boxing Day was, as it happens, this blog of mine. I started it many years ago as a diary for my studies. Somewhere that I could record my research and related activities, ponder results and share them with my tutor and fellow students. I continued with the blog post studies, including a big “move” to a different blogging platform during which I lost 75% of my blog. Not a good time. I still dream of finding in a forgotten folder some of the essays that I’d worked so hard on and whose loss I still regret. But, as my studies came to a close, I continued to write in the blog.
Why did I carry on though? Partly as a way of sharing my hobby with the handful of people I stayed in touch with but mainly because I actually enjoy writing. I enjoy crafting the flow and pace of a written piece. I also enjoy seeing where my thoughts will take me; unlike an essay for my studies I rarely start with a firm plan and the subject evolves as too does the main point I am going to make. Sometimes this resembles whatever induced me to put fingertip to screen in the first place but oft-times it’s a surprise to me and the first I know of it is when I proof read the copy.
The germ of an idea this time came from watching Alex Luyckx’s latest YouTube video. This led me to ponder resurrecting my nascent interest in making videos, or VLOGs as I termed them, a pursuit I put on the back burner when my formal studies ended. I then found that Alex had, somehow, left me with a thought revolving around the empty recesses of my skull … “write about what you know”. This in turn led me to think about what I do write about and why and thereby to this point of sitting at the dining table tapping furiously at a screen trying to get it all out of my head before the family need the table for tea.
One thing I have noticed is that my blog became more focused once I’d made the transition from digital to digital plus film and from there to being once again a mostly-film based photographer. Much of what I’ve written about has related to my experiences and experiments returning to film photography and also discovering new techniques or formats. Often these are things I couldn’t experience first time around due to lack of funds or time but often through simply not knowing about them. Hard to understand in this digital age I know and I suspect many take for granted the wealth of information available at the tap of a finger or the click of a mouse button.
It’s not a gear-centric blog, although I enjoy the gear, but is more focused on what I can achieve with the tools and materials. At times, usually when I’m restricted in my movements through ill-health, I write opinion-based content, but on the whole I like to share what I know, what I’m learning and what I’m trying out by way of new techniques. This is both as a means of making sense of it myself but also as a way of sharing.
So, that’s my point for today in what is probably, but not definitely, my last blog post of 2022. If you are a film photographer, whatever your level of experience and whatever your particular specialist subject is, please consider sharing your knowledge, your experience and your technical skills. Whilst film photography is enjoying a resurgence it’s still a fledgling and its long-term survival is not secured yet. For it to continue to thrive and continue to grow we all need to play our part.
It’s not just about supporting those companies that are undoubtedly doing their best to keep film alive, they have a strong vested interest, nor is it just about making the gear available but it’s about keeping the knowledge and skills alive, ensuring they are passed on through the generations. I don’t mean simply burying things in websites or online databases. Those artefacts can be found of course and have value – but only if they are found, only if future film photographers know the right questions to ask or keywords to enter in a search engine. Our mission, should we wish to accept it, is to actively spread the word, to share and not to hoard our knowledge so that newcomers to this world can see for themselves the wonders that await beyond the marketing stories, the slick packaging and the glossy offerings of hip influencers.
So, that’s what I will be doing in 2023. Or rather, that’s what I shall continue doing in 2023. Whether or not I branch out into a podcast or I resurrect my nascent and long-dormant YT channel (thanks for that ear-worm Alex!) I shall at least be continuing to write for my blog. Continuing to share via social media and continuing to do my small bit to keep the film flag flying.
I hope you do too.
Here’s to a healthy, happy and creative 2023 with as much sharing as we can all manage.