Waxing Nostalgic with Prints

It has been a lot of years since I got prints back along with my developed film. When I dropped off my most recent roll of film at my local lab, Austin Camera, I recalled how fun it used to be to get that envelope stuffed with negatives and prints. I remembered getting those prints, usually double prints for sharing, and going through them - sorting out my favorites and tossing aside the crappy ones. No computer necessary, just the pure tactile joy of handling real photo prints. I decided it was time to revert to old practices. If I'm going to the trouble to shoot film and have it developed by a lab, why not get prints? It doesn't cost much more, especially with a develop/scan/print deal they have at Austin Camera.

My roll of Cinefilm color negative film was an ideal candidate for getting back to film prints. I had the lab print the roll on a matte paper that complemented the muted colors of this motion picture film stock. It felt great to hold prints in my hands and to be able to see my images without the aid of a computer or a negative light table. Yeah, I think I'm hooked on printing again. Apart from the gratification of having the prints in my hands, I found that these physical images made me look more critically at my compositions and framing. A few were sloppy and looked rushed. We tend to snap away in the digital world, straightening, cropping, and cleaning things up in post. In a print straight off the negative you can't hide the slop. It's both humbling and motivating. Get it right in camera...really right.