I used to laugh when digital came along. Oh these kids don’t know how good they have it. No messing around with loading film and hoping it works, hoping the results are even marginally all right. Now they just have their clear screens and they can see their image immediately and beam it out electronically to the entire world. They don’t know what WE used to go through, how we SUFFERED.
But yeah. I don’t want to sound like someone who yells — GET OFF MY LAWN.
Please young people come to my lawn and let me tell the story of how I got the images below. Way back in 2001 (I can’t believe I just wrote that) if you wanted your images to look more interesting or remarkable, you had to put the work in pre photographing, not post like now. I had seen color infrared images in a photography magazine and decided I wanted to do a project with them. I was going to shoot the annual cherry blossoms in Washington DC with color infrared film. Notice I said project.
Back then I was shooting with a beautiful machine called a Canon AE-1. That camera was a marvel. Very few moving parts. Pure photography. Did you have to know what you were doing with it?? Yes. Did I make a lot of mistakes when I shot with it? You bet. So color infrared film only came in slides and cost $20 a roll, rather than the usual $6 regular slide film cost. Oh and you got 36 exposures, so if you messed up, that was it. And you had to load the infrared film in total darkness. I bought a dark bag to load the film into the camera.
But wait, there’s more. One you got the color infrared film, you had to take your pictures on a very bright, very sunny day. Otherwise, it wouldn’t work. And when you were taking the pictures, you had to take an outboard light meter with you because you had use a red filter on the camera lens to get the crazy effects in the pictures. The light meter inside the camera wouldn’t work and give you the wrong readings and at $20 a roll, you couldn’t really afford to make mistakes. Oh and the AE-1 was really the best camera to take the pictures with because it didn’t have a red sensor in it to automatically set your film speed. You set your film speed yourself, so if you set it wrong, your pictures were off and if you know what you were doing you could push your 400 ISO to 800 to shoot after dark. YES. It was that complex.
But the results, well, the results are these crazy, surrealistic looking images that I doubt could be repeated now. Photography is different now. But I appreciate the education film gave me because I still take all of this stuff into consideration when I take pictures and it has served me well. You have more chances to take a good picture with digital now but knowing the old stuff does serve me well.
Well, finally, here are the images: