This weekend, I ran into my three-ring binder full of 35mm film and slides from our wedding and honeymoon. I was surprised that I had a sense of nostalgia for the “old days” of photography with film. Back before digital cameras existed (and before I could afford one after they existed), there was a small thrill every time I’d bring a roll of film into the lab for processing, and a big thrill when I picked up the order and got to see how my hard work turned out. In my later years of 35mm, my dad introduced me to a real lab — Color Unlimited in Minneapolis. The lab was amazing — their prices were quite reasonable, their film processing was amazing (for years, I had been dealing with scratched film from labs like Proex which were not visible on 4×6 prints, but were quite obvious when scanning to a high-res image), and the people were the best in the business. They were more than willing to offer advice to improve my photographic skills, and to just chat about the art in general.
I’m sad to see that they have now gone out of business.. I guess it’s kind of inevitable with the “digital revolution” that the old-school film shops are going to go under. The best replacement I’ve found is photo.net, where you can ask for critiques and such, but it’s just not the same.
I love digital photography, but have started to realize how much of what got me interested in photography in the beginning is just no longer relevant. My kids will probably never have the experience of developing their own film in a darkroom, of rolling bulk film into 35mm cartridges, or even having to figure out what speed film to load to get the best use out of the film.
Rest in peace, 35mm photography!