In case you were wondering, this is what photos look like when the shutter on a really old 35mm camera stops working. I've had this camera, a Minolta X-700, since I rescued it from the back of my parents' closet. Over the years whenever I traveled anywhere wonderful I brought it along. It was my tool of choice for documenting my travels and what I felt during some of the most interesting and challenging experiences of my life. My means to a personal, visual journal. In more recent years, I've had the option of documenting with very nice digital equipment acquired as a result of professionally shooting, yet still preferred my film camera almost exclusively when traveling. Many of these visual journal entries were documented during times I traveled alone and hadn't spoken (English, at least) to anyone in a few days. Some times I was enraptured with something beautiful and tried to capture that, other times I was angry and taking photos was my way of processing and making things right with the world, my therapy of sorts. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, this tool I've found so wonderful and beneficial for years recently broke. Also unfortunately, I learned that it's almost as expensive to repair a 35mm camera as it is to buy a new one, so this tool I've shared more travels with than any person I know is permanently retired.
But enough of the eulogy.
Here's a bit about this specific group of photos. After a really beautiful trip to California that we took with our friends the Manchiks for New Years (including many adventures but one that I was especially most excited to capture-- Joshua Tree National Park), I gathered the many rolls of travel film I'd accumulated. Some were weeks old, others months old, a couple even were a few years old and had unearthed themselves after our move across the country.
I dropped them off, eager and excited to see the photos from our recent travels and intrigued by the mystery rolls I'd uncovered. When I returned to pick them up I was mortified to discover that 4 rolls were almost completely unexposed-- solid black, with a few partial-photos (when the shutter opened a little bit, capturing a portion of the original photo I took). They happened to be the 4 rolls of Portra 400 I had recently photographed all around California. For those of you who enjoy numbers, this means I should have had 144 glorious photos from this epic journey. I ended up with 13 partially exposed frames.
After mourning for a while, I decided to crop the black away from the few partial survivors and share what is left from that trip. I already shared all of these in a personally cathartic series on Instagram, but decided they should also have a more permanent residence here. Most of the horizontal shots near the end of this post in this group are fully in-tact; they're photos I took on expired Kodak Gold 200 before the shutter stopped working. The vertical photos are all partial frames salvaged from otherwise destroyed rolls of Portra film, but I still enjoy them.
Film from Palm Springs and Joshua Tree, CA. New Years, December 2014 - January 2015.