Here is the lab technician at my local lab scanning what has now become the second to last batch of film I have. It was going to be the last batch of film but I thought this morning that I should use up the six rolls of medium format film I have left in the fridge. (Unfortunately, the sun came out just after I left the house and I spent most of my time scurrying from building shadow to building shadow. I made just six photographs). I decided several weeks ago to give up film for several reasons. One, the price of film, especially slide, keeps going up. Fuji recently announced the price of film will go up twenty percent. There was a similar price increase just a couple of years ago. The second reason I decided to give up film is that labs can’t be bothered to do a good job anymore. Scanning film takes time, time that would be more profitably spent printing from digital files. The exception seems to be medium format film because scans need to be done manually and the technician seems to have a soft spot for the look of medium format film. Here are some photos from that last six rolls of film. All are from 35mm Provia 100F film. I always thought this house was abandoned but some time ago I noticed these jars put out and cloths hanging on a line. The jars are probably full of soy bean paste or chilli paste or both. Anything will do for an alley flower pot. Is the owner of this house too lazy to put away the snow shovel or have they just prepared six months in advance? This is what the scene looked like through the viewfinder. Because the Contax N1’s viewfinder doesn’t have 100% coverage the film had some blue garbage bags on the right. I cropped those out to make the scene I originally wanted. Many dogs in Korea have very short leashes and they are ignored by their owners for most of the day. This beautiful dog was happy when I stopped to pet him and let him lick my face. Then he sat still while I made this photo. Good boy! This alley goes somewhere important enough to warrant a red arrow. Three arrows mean you have to run across the street? This smiling fishmonger didn’t mind me taking a photo of her in this market alley. Probably because she thought of me as a tourist and not someone trying to get her in trouble with the authorities. Being a visible minority (I am white) is an advantage in photography sometimes.
Many old women will bring a bundle of vegetables to the market in the morning and set up anywhere they can get a space. It’s surprising that shop owners, such as the owner of the cosmetics shop in the background, don’t drive them out of it. But perhaps they feel sorry for the ‘grannies’.
Korea’s yet underdeveloped welfare system means that many old people have to make money until their dying day by collecting recyclables, cleaning streets, or doing other menial labour.
I made this photo by first selecting the composition of the menu, wall and steamers, and then waiting for the cook to come by and open a lid. Making photographs like this gets better results and saves film.
This fruit seller was doing her books when I stopped and chose my composition. You can see that she has just noticed me and is starting to turn. When she saw what she thought was a tourist she smiled and nodded. It might have helped that it was a weekend and there lots of tourists in the market so she was used to cameras, cameras, eveywhere.
Looking at these photos again reminds me of how much I like film photography. My digital camera is good and convenient but no matter how satisfied I am with the exposure and colour, digital is different than film. Maybe I’ll reconsider my decision not to use film once I’ve developed and printed the leftover film I have in my bag. Flip Flop.