Melancholy Monday: A Farewell to Film

I have been called to task by several of you followers for posting things under my “Melancholy Monday” tag that were not really melancholy. I believe, however, that this one will fit the description quite well.We are in the final throes of selling our house in Omaha and relocating to two different destinations. (This is, by the way, the main reason why my recent posts—and my acknowledgements of yours—have been so sporadic.) We have lived here for almost 20 years—the longest we’ve ever stayed in one place—and the downsizing is formidable. One of the major hurdles—and one I’ve been dreading for many years—is what to do with my beloved accumulation of traditional photography equipment.I remember clearly the day in 2000 when I bought my first digital camera. Before that, I had been a dedicated devotee to film photography, with three 35mm cameras and two medium-format twin-lens reflex cameras that came with me, pretty much in all of my travels. I bought my film in bulk rolls, loaded it into cassettes and carried 36, developed them myself, and had a full black-and-white darkroom. When I began to embrace the digital world, I can’t really say that I never looked back, but I never used film again.I dismantled my darkroom, needing the space it occupied for other projects, but kept it all safely stored, maintain a hope that one of my daughters might take an interest some day, adopt the equipment, and carry on the tradition. But it was not to be. Both of them (and our three grandchildren) now live in New Zealand. We have recently bought a house near them, and will be moving the majority of our stuff there later this year, and will split our time between there and our cabin in the woods in northern Minnesota, avoiding the worst of the winter weather in both places.But I digress. Back to the photo equipment, I tried for quite some time to find good homes for it, first at the local high school and then at the University of Nebraska, but both had stopped teaching conventional photography skills. A clever and knowledgeable person at the latter, however, referred me to the Metro Community College, and when I talked with their fine arts director, I was delighted to hear that 30% of their teaching still encompasses conventional photography. He was very happy to accept my donations of my Beseler 23-CII enlarger, Nikon lenses, and lots of other darkroom necessities, as well as four film cameras, a Super-8 video camera, a digital hard-drive camcorder, and several older-model digital cameras. He assured me that MCC will provide me with documentation for all of this that I can use to apply to my 2017 taxes.  But for me, the best part of all of this is the knowledge that all (or at least most) of the stuff that I’ve donated will be used by young folks who are still interested in carrying on the conventional photographic tradition.  And so, as I bid a most-fond farewell to this integral phase of my life, here are a few of my favorite old-time images, which I’ve converted to a digital format by scanning either the negatives or the prints. So many ways to celebrate this amazing world around us!




About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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9 Responses to Melancholy Monday: A Farewell to Film

  1. Adrian Lewis says:

    Gary, this is a truly wonderful post, albeit in some ways a melancholy one – haha! and before I go any further, old friend, if you want to call a post melancholy, then you go right ahead and do it – its your blog and your choice, just do it!

    Second, well yes, momentous moves on your part, and I very much hope all goes well – sounds like you’re going to have a very interesting and diverse life, and I wish you both well. I have a feeling that NZ will be very much to your taste – but then you probably know it is already!

    Lastly, film. Well I very much like the images you’ve posted here, especially the sheep! And I do understand how you feel about film’s demise, and I do sympathise. You and I often have similar views, but here we differ a little. I too shot film for many decades and used a B+W darkroom, the latter in school and at university. And I suppose I’m sad to see film decline but, really, from my point of view, I can only glory in the vast creative potential that digital provides – and feel very grateful that all of this innovation has arrived and come to fruition just when I needed it. I do sometimes think about shooting more film – I loved my Olympus OM cameras – but I always then reflect that the fruits of my film labours will have to be scanned in to digital in order to fully do them justice – and so why not just start with digital?

    I wish you both a very happy, ongoing life, my friend. Adrian

    • krikitarts says:

      Ah, but we don’t differ that much after all. Although there are moments when I miss the darkroom experience, I’ve never seriously looked back to consider re-activating all it takes to do the film world justice. I’ve also embraced the digital world and am happy that I’ve been here to experience it and all that it has enabled us to do. What an adventure!

  2. Beautiful images, I also love the texture of the sheep and the water reflection is stunning. Good luck with everything 😄

  3. Ogee says:

    Your gear lives on and inspires a whole new generation. A generous gift…

  4. seekraz says:

    Your work continues to inspire, Gary…such beautiful images there. I wish you well in your transition, moving over-seas, etc…and hope it’s all you want it to be. I will look forward to your more “regular” presence after you’re settled…..

  5. A lot of us photographers of a certain age are facing that same question: what to do with our analog (and even old digital) equipment? I guess I should do what you did and check with some local schools.

    Sounds like an excellent winter-avoidance plan you’ve developed, thanks to your connections in the Antipodes. After half a year in each place, you may never again be sure what side of the street you’re supposed to drive on.

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