I was walking around shooting a camera I’m trying to modify, and finding the shortcomings in my work this past week. When I stopped to answer questions about it, the person asking was a bit astounded. “You only get one shot?” .
“Well, two. It’s a 4×5. Each film holder has two shots.”
After I said that he held up his digital p&s and went on about how many it held. Which missed the point entirely.
I’ll admit, I do a lot of things the hard way. It’s been years since I flew. I take the train when I can. I bicycle. I walk. I spend time doing things in a way that seems to most people to be the hard way. But it’s not to me.
I enjoy the process of things. I guess most people don’t.
When you’re on a train, you get to see parts of the country and meet people you wouldn’t otherwise. You eat well, and have wine while the countryside rolls past and it’s an enjoyable experience.
On a bike, you learn the contours of a place and experience it intimately. Cresting a hill under the power of your own legs is satisfying in the way that pushing harder on an accelerator doesn’t give you. Seeing a place solely from an interstate doesn’t give you a feeling of it, doesn’t allow you to meet anyone who lives there. You almost always see people at their best when you travel on a bike, they’re curious about what you’re doing and generous with their time and help.
I walk to and from work, the store and home, and the vast majority of my errands. I nod hello to people who do the same thing on most mornings. I can just nip in and get a breakfast burrito on the way if I want it, or more coffee, without the hassle of having to park. I know the people who I buy from and they call me by name and remember what I like in my orders. Personal service is more enjoyable than the alternatives.
When I shoot a film camera I enjoy every part of it. From selecting the film stock to composing and taking the shot. I enjoy mixing the chemicals and developing, listening to the comforting sound of water and never failing to be surprised and satisfied when a negative comes out. Printing is the best part of it, mixing science with craft, literally shaping light with your hands.
I always feel that people who live life other wise, hurrying around using the easy way are missing out on so much. I guess I prize experiences rather than craving checking things off of lists. The hard way is usually far better and satisfying for me. Which doesn’t make it the hard way, it makes it the way worth doing.
I just smiled at the guy with the p&s digital camera. We were standing right next to each other, having very different experiences, and living in different worlds.