Film in Review

One thing I really like about the holidays is that I do manage to find a large chunk of uninterrupted time to accomplish a few things that need more than an hour here and there. It’s not that I become a hermit or anything, in fact I think I set a new record on Christmas Eve by coming home at 7am from being out the night before. It’s been a while since I’ve done that.

This weekend’s project was to get my B&W film developing going again at my studio. I haven’t developed any film in the two years that I’ve been here. And while some projects I’ve been taking to the lab to get processed, I had this big tumbler cup I’ve been throwing a lot of my exposed film into, with the idea that one day I would get around to developing it.

You see, when I shoot, I don’t just shoot digitally. I usually grab some film and shoot with my film cameras as well. Not as much as digital for a number of reasons, but if I really like what we’re doing, I like to capture some of it on film as well. Different look. Different feel. I still love film.

So these rolls had become a bit of a mystery. I hadn’t labeled any of them. I wasn’t even sure what shoots they were from. So I mixed my chemicals and began to develop them, two rolls at a time.

It was like a little year in review for me. Like I said, I’d been having a lab do most of my film processing work during the year, so every time I unspooled a roll out of the tanks to dry it was like, “Oh yeah! I forgot about that!”

Lots of great stuff with Melissa, Frances, Morgan and Jillian. Well at least it looks great holding the negatives up to the light. I’ll have to scan them over the next few days and see what I have, but I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at being able to look at a negative and know what the positive prints will look like.

Someone asked me on Saturday whether I thought 2006 was a good year or not for me. I thought for a minute. Only because a lot has happened this year. I think there were times this year when I would have said it was the worst year of my life. But sitting here today at the very end of 2006, I think I would have to say that it ended up being a very good year.

And it’s not just because of the old “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” adage. I think it’s because I had to grow a lot this year. I learned a lot. It was hard, but I think on the other side of it all, I would say it was worth it. In fact I think any time I stop learning about myself, it’s easy to lose sight of what the important things in life are.

I learned a lot about my art. How I do it. Why I do it. Different ways to do it. Why it’s important to know that it’s a collaboration, but ultimately, it’s got to be my vision or the image won’t be everything it can be. I’m lucky to have found people that I work with that understand that. We continue to make beautiful inspiring images because… well… art is the most important thing to me.

My life is much less when I’m not creating things that inspire me.

But one of the things that made 2006 a year I’ll never forget is that it really became clear to me how beautifully wonderful my friends are. I wouldn’t say I had been taking them for granted, but I forgot how wonderful it is to just spend time together with them. Not at a fancy dinner or a club or anything like that. But just being together. Talking and listening. Laughing. Crying. Smiling.

In that regard it’s been a very humbling year for me. Sometimes it easy to forget that what we think we need isn’t really what we really want. I know it’s something I was reminded of this year. I’m incredible fortunate to have people like that in my life. We take turns giving and taking. The balance of life and friendship.

In the end, yes, 2006 was a good year. I’m looking forward to taking these experiences and moving into 2007.

Cheers and Merry New Year.

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