This morning, on my routine ride with my pushbike, I was thinking over about what is photography for me, and I came out with quite clear picture in my mind. To me is “just” a collection of memories. My aim is to arrive at a certain point of my life and be able to look back at what I have done and who I met during my journey. But also, that it does not matter the method I collected these memories because the method itself is a memory.
When reflecting on this, and my recent explorations into film photography, there was a clear picture that popped in my mind. It was of a beautiful journey I did with a friend of mine (the Drugo, is his nickname) to Lake Garda back in 2006. We went in my classic car, a Fiat 500 C aka Topolino, featured in the image above. That’s me in the driver’s seat.
The motor club I had a subscription with back then organised the annual meeting, and that year it was in Lake Garda, not too far from my hometown, “just” 160km. Usually just a couple of hours drive. Easy!
Because my friend is a motorist fanatic I thought to invite him, why not. It would have been a pleasant weekend in a beautiful spot, with lovely weather and new people to chat with. He accepted straight away.
What I did not consider was the trip with the Topolino. Max speed is 70 km/h (with wind behind) and you can’t run constantly at this speed. It is also better to stay away from the motorway as you have to stop time by time to cool down the engine and to stretch yourself as the space inside is not huge (and Drugo is an almost 2m tall beast!).
You have to be lucky, because if you have got any sort of mechanical problem is going to take time to fix it. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
In the end we arrived at Garda,without too many problems. We took the motorway for a little bit (we were late!) and we arrived just in time for the gathering. Well, it took almost 6 hours, but the trip was fantastic!
A lot of chats, laughs (especially for those who were overtaking us on the motorway…trucks included), adventures and new places were visited along the way. It took a bit longer than normal but we did it and it was fun. I will not forget that trip, never. It was a different way to go to Lake Garda, it was not wrong or time consuming. It was just different. We could have done the same trip with a lovely and comfortable car but it would not be the same. I would have not have the same memories now because it was not just a way to arrive at Lake Garda, the trip was part of the whole experience.
For me the analogue photography is the same. I could buy the latest model of digital camera with the most beautiful and sharp lens, but the taste of the final product would be different to my palate. I like the idea of the smelly chemicals, the touch of the negatives and the idea that they really take space in my cupboard and not only in my HDD and I enjoy the experience of making them.
The process of shooting film adds something to the memory. It’s not something that needs to be added, the memories can be captured without it, but they are somehow enriched for me by shooting film and film cameras.
As such, in some ways, I think that as an analogy if photography is like my trip to Lake Garda, my choice to now shoot film and film cameras is akin to me driving there in the Topolino.
The photos in this article are digital, but they still contain memories…
The dog here above (I called it Vileda because… well, should be quite clear… ) was spotted near Lake Garda, it was the pet of some guys coming from Austria. Looking at this image I vividly remember its smell, and every time I think about it I can’t think how these guys could have made such a journey with it in the small Topolino. It’s difficult to forget despite the image not being a piece of art.
This image reminds me of a lunch in Warsaw with some friends, but I understand that to the most is just a flower that’s probably not even in focus. But it does not matter to me. It brings me back in 2010, my memory goes directly to that trip with a bunch of lovely people which are part of my life.
When I think of Sardinia, immediately I think at the photo above and at all the adventures I had with some friends that summer.
Or when I hear Rome on the news, this is the image I’ve got. Then there is family, my hometown and all the memories which follows.
Some photos brings me back even the taste and the smell of the food I had. For instance, how can you go to Barcelona and not have a sangria? Impossible to me!
Or I still remember the crowd and the noise on the bridge which splits Buda from Pest.
When I read about correct exposure, rule of thirds, the best developer or the best film, I listen to it carefully because I know that is going to help me to impress better my life on a film
What matters to me is something else, it’s capturing those memories… But now I have discovered how much I enjoy shooting film, I can enrich the experience of capturing those memories in the same way as the Topolino enriched my experience of driving to Lake Garda.
These are just some of the thoughts I had this morning when I was trying to burn some calories on my push bike. I just wanted to share with you the kind of mindset I am approaching in my analogue journey. I hope you enjoyed it and please, a usual, share your thought and let me know what matters to you.