TRAVEL HERE: THE OTHER PART OF ANALOG
While digital photography is here to stay, there are reasons I remember analog fondly. Last week, though I moaned about the quality of analog snapshots, I found a number of reasons for enjoying photography the old fashioned way. Whether you think taking pictures in analog was a blessing or a curse, let’s move on to the next part of the equation, getting the pictures developed.
Analog film came in different lengths. A roll or cartridge of film could have anywhere from 12 to 36 shots on it. When traveling, I always bought the 36 shot length, but when I was around home I switched to 12, so I could finish up the roll faster. During some periods of my life, I was so boring it could take years to finish up 12 pictures. One thing is for sure, you’d never just go ahead and develop an unfinished roll of film. That would have been some kind of sacrilege.
So, whether I was finally through with a boring roll of film or had handfuls of rolls from a trip, when it was time to take them for processing, I first had to decide where to take them. This is not unlike having photos developed today. Sure you can share them indefinitely without printing them, but if you are a scrapbooker like me, you gotta print them. (Yes, I know you can make online scrapbooks, but that’s not the same thing.)
Some people mailed off their rolls of film. They’d boast of saving money or assure me that was the way to get the best quality processing, but that just didn’t work for me. I didn’t want to keep up with where to send them or store a stack of their envelopes or pay the postage, especially when I could drop them off around the corner and then go back by and pick them up later.
Used to be “later” was later than it is now. One-hour photo processing has been the norm for so long, that most of us don’t remember a time when it wasn’t, but yes, you used to have to wait days to get back the photos you dropped off. They were probably sending my photos to the same place they would have gone to had I been able to wrap my mind around mailing them, but whatever the case, an hour or a week, the anticipation was part of the fun.
When you casually check out your phone to see the picture you just took, you can’t begin to imagine how much fun it was to wait. I’ve already said not being able to immediately see the photos took some of the anxiety out of it. Instead of anxiety, you had anticipation and lots of it. You had to get home from vacation and unpack your bags. Then you had to find time to drop off the film and time to go pick it up. Then you got the envelope with your photos.
There was a time when I couldn’t even wait to get out to my car to look. I’d rip open the envelopes the second I got them and started looking at the pictures. I’d go through the pictures two or three times before I could stand to put them away and go on with my business. Many places would give you a refund for any picture you didn’t like, but it was only a few cents per picture and I thought even my worst picture was worth an ounce of gold.
Having to wait to see your pictures might seem like an inconvenience to many, but it was really just part of the fun. Come back next week and we’ll share another stroll down the photographic memory lane.