A Chance Encounter

I just had the loveliest thing happen!  

I was outside working in my garden, and saw an older man, probably in his 70’s, walk slowly down the sidewalk in font of my house.  He had an old Nikon 35mm camera and as he walked, he would stop and just look through the lens every couple of steps.  I watched him do this for about five minutes before deciding to go talk to him.

I introduced myself, saying that I’d notice he shooting film, and that I shoot film as well. We talked about film stocks and old cameras, and then I asked him what he was photographing.  His response was great.   He said “nothing yet”!   

He went on tell me about why he still shoots film.  “When I shoot film, I think about each frame I’m making.  I look through the camera and analyze what I’m seeing.  The colors.  The textures. The light. I then ask myself if what I’m seeing is really what I want a photo of.  Most of the time it’s not.  But the slowness of the process lets me be in the moment, fully.  It’s my meditation.”

I thought it was beautiful and summed up why I shoot film too.  I love the slowness.  I love to think about my film stock and how it will effect the colors and the light. It’s fun.  And relaxing.

My new friend has inspired me.  I’m going to turn off my computer.  Load my camera.  And just go for a walk to see what I can find.  Maybe I won’t find anything.  Maybe I won’t shoot a single frame.  But maybe I will.  

Today this will be my meditation.  To just be in the world, be slow, and really see it.

Sandra Coan, film photography Little Bellows