COVID-19

Coping with the stress

We all have to find ways to cope with the stress of our current situation. I’ve coped by leaning harder into film photography.

In the shadow of the fence
Pentax ME Super, 50mm f/1.7 SMC Pentax-M, Kodak T-Max 400, Rodinal 1+50, 2020

I take a lot of lunchtime walks to photograph things. Because I need to get back to work I can’t stray far from home. I’ve had to be creative in finding new ways to look at my suburban neighborhood. At first glance, there’s sameness everywhere. But there are still details to find and interesting light to experience.

I’ve also reached into my to-shoot queue of new-to-me old cameras. I don’t mind shooting the same old things as much when I’m learning the ways of an unfamiliar camera. It’s an advantage to shoot familiar scenes because I have a good idea of how other cameras and films have rendered it. I can compare the results as I evaluate the camera.

Lately I’ve shot my Polaroid SX-70 for the first time in years. I’ve also put film through a Pentax ME Super, a Kodak Retina Reflex III, and two Kodak No. 2 Hawk-Eye box cameras. I also have one more roll of film to try courtesy Analogue Wonderland, a roll of Adox HR-50 that I’ve put into my Olympus OM-1. If you follow me on Flickr you’ve already seen some of this work. Otherwise, hang tight, posts about it are coming.

Given these circumstances I’m very glad I can develop black-and-white film now. I didn’t foresee any of this coming when I learned that skill late last year. If I had to send all of this film out for processing it would be quite expensive. It would also be quite slow. The normal 1-2 week turnaround time at most labs has, by all accounts, become even longer because labs are limiting staff to maintain good social distancing.

I know I could just shoot digital during this time, but film is just more fun for me.

Photography is a great distraction from the world’s and my troubles. It’s also something I can control at a time when so much is beyond my control. Both of these things are good for my mental health during these difficult and worrisome times.

Other pandemic reports from Mark Evanier and fishyfisharcade.

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