The Good In Negative

For a typical probinsyana, living a fast-paced life in a different city with apparent overpopulation has been and will always be a struggle, or so I thought.

Over the years of living in the Metro, I have gotten used to the constant hassle in my daily life. It’s pretty contradictory, but everyday wasn’t a test of survival anymore, it has become my lifestyle.

After finishing grad school early last year and starting a new job [relatively less demanding than my previous ones], I felt, for the first time in my mortal life, that I have so much time in my hands. My weeknights and weekends were mostly spent nurturing personal relationships, trying to create something and appreciating the artistic local scene, catching up on life as I would say.

It’s the lifestyle I unknowingly alienated myself from in lieu of my pursuit for career advancement but few months after, my attention span was failing me, yet again. I got bored. I MISS THE HASSLE. I need to do something new.

It’s been a year since I decided to try film photography and my savings life has never been the same. Why not shoot film instead? We’ve been trying to make our digital images look film, anyway.

From my first film roll. Minolta XG7 / Expired AGFA Vista 100

In this day and age of internet, it has become fundamental for us, human beings, to upgrade to the latest shiz technology has to offer. Needs seemingly evolve with technology but going back to the basic was probably one of the very few decisions I did not regret making in 2018.

Roll after roll, I was learning to slow down, both literally and figuratively.

Shooting in film teaches discipline. I have to choose the right film for the right [lighting] situation and to carefully analyze the exposure triangle before firing the shutter as I just can’t roll knobs while peeping through a viewfinder.

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One random afternoon in Batad, Iloilo. Minolta XG7/Kodak Gold 200

I began to accept that being too focused in getting the shot that you want, some moments will slip by and no amount of waiting can make them happen again. It could be disappointing, but you just have to let go and move on to the next.

An elderly woman from Buscalan. Minolta SR7/Kodak Colorplus 200

You become more conscious with the quality of lighting you [will] have for the day as you can’t change rolls in between. Once you load a roll, you to stick to it and make it work for you, unless, of course, you have another camera to load a different roll in. But that’s not always the case as one SLR camera already weighs a lot, literally, at least.

College Alma Mater. Minolta SR7/Kodak Gold 200

Analog, in its full glorious technicalities can be really intimidating but ironically though, I also think there’s more freedom in film if only you allow yourself to play with the rules and not by the rules. The mix of anticipation and anxiety makes seeing the developed image even more rewarding.

Ate Vey, a weaver in her past life, giving Ga’dang weaving a shot during our outreach in Paracelis. Minolta XG7/Kodak Gold 200

I have always been a fan of shadows and highlights but with film, you don’t really know how it would look like until you have the whole roll finished and developed. Often Sometimes, you don’t get the shot the way you imagined (and hoped) it to be, but film has its way of surprising you in the most magnificent and satisfying ways.

Somewhere in Marikina. Minolta SR7/Kodak Ultramax 400

Each photograph, properly exposed or not, feels honest and emotional. It gives the right kind of softness and feels I find difficult to achieve digitally because I hopelessly suck in post-processing. I am not sure though if I’m just trying to mask my laziness in editing by sounding poetic, but any photo made on film stays the same. Film remains unchanged, just like how we secretly wish for beautiful things to never change. It is timeless.

Cubao. Minolta SR7/Kodak Colorplus 200

A year after, I still fear loading a new roll. There’s always the uncertainty that from unboxing the roll to having it developed, something can go wrong. With digital, I already know how a photo would look like even before I press the shutter, but with film, I first envision how a photo would look like, make necessary adjustments, press the shutter, HOPE IT WOULD TURN OUT FINE then move on.

Buscalan. Minolta SR7/Kodak Colorplus 200

Perhaps, it’s the lack of control [no matter how hard I try] and the element of surprise that comes with shooting film that got me to delve even deeper to it. I started living for what others would call “Happy Accidents”.

Unplanned double exposure. Minolta XG7/Kodak Gold 200


Getting my developed images also mean looking back at what I did and didn’t do, learn from them and do better again next time.

Carriedo. Minolta SR7/Kodak Colorplus 200

Roll after roll, I am beginning to see that the essence of shooting in film is to just let go and trust its magical process. Oh, pretty much life, in general.

Liwliwa. My first BnW Film Roll. Minolta SR7/Ilford Delta 100


*photos posted were taken during my first 365 days with feeelm!

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