Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Process

I spent the day developing film, both color and black and white.  I had to mix the chemicals for the color film at high, precise temperatures being careful not to spill any of the toxic powders.  Trips to the garage to load the film into developing tanks inside the dark tent, trouble loading the medium format film onto the spiral metal spools.  Standing at the sink with a timer rotating the metal tanks minute after minute from pre-wash to development, rinse, fix, and wash.  Then, pulling the film from the tanks, holding my breath to see if the development was correct.  Here some underexposed frames, there some overexposed.  Then, having guessed that an unmarked container had developer, I was wrong and the negatives of those strawberry fields from my trip to DinoWorld and the farm to table restaurant were ruined.  

I am mortified.

Hang the film in the bathroom to dry.  Cut the negatives to fit the negative holders and the scanner.  Then scan.  All night long.  Scanning takes forever.  

And the results?  


I forget how much time and trouble, how much work, and how potentially disappointing film can be.  

And once again, I think, "Just shoot digital."  

Indeed, just use the camera on the phone.  

And once again, I think to buy one of the "medium format" digitals from Hasselblad or Fuji.  But--a big but--they are not truly medium format and don't offer the full advantage of the larger film negatives.  

And then I am dismayed and wonder just what the fuck I am doing anyway.  There is too much photography in the world and many wonderful photographers.  

And then I think to begin again with the alternative process stuff which not so many people do at all.  Of course, I'd need a place to work.  

And then I pick up a book and read.  

I still have a practical life.  The HVAC repairman had to return yesterday.  The guy who came last week didn't hook up the new something or other correctly.  Today I get beautified.  This is my 32nd day of not drinking.  My copy of "How to Drink Like a Writer" came last night.  There are a hundred poisons depicted in there.  It has been a hard and very emotional month.  If I had been drinking, I would have been awash in it, probably.  Being sober, though, did not make it easier.  If I told you the dimensions of my emotional distress, you'd think me crazy.  Probably. 

Thanks, doc. 

People are lining up and making reservations to have a drink with me now, beginning with lunch tomorrow.  I don't know, however, if I will drink.  I don't know if or when or how much.  I just know I should not go back to the quantities I had ascended (descended?) to.  I also know I am not a moderate fellow.  I think this month has been good for me.  But unlike Q, I don't like sobriety.  I don't like the long nights alone with the constant hum.  Q does not have nights alone.  He is a family man, a vacationer most of the time, a working man some, and he has need of his rational mind.  

Mine needs taming.  Mine needs to be lulled to sleep.  

So, beginning tomorrow. . . the adventure serial begins.  Wild nights in brothels?  Weekends at the monastery?  Who knows?

I woke up every hour last night.  I'd roll over and look at the clock and despair.  I finally got up at 4:30.  What the hell kind of time is that to get up?  I could go back to bed.  I might.  

I have more developing to do today, more scanning.  More buildings.  More cars.  More trash cans.  

I'm as useless as a bear cub playing with his pecker.  

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