The economy of FILM and its contact sheets

I still use film, I like how it slows me down, how it forces me to focus before I make an image. Digital has other properties ofcourse, we all know those but 120 film and hasselblad and tripod are the tools that work best for my slow release imagery.

12 frames at a time, each ‘click’ almost 100 Rs a shot !! think about it when you next go click click click, there is something to the economy of film. If not the cost then the fact that after 12 frames you need to reload the camera. You start to have the count in your head. I often get my strongest images at no 11.

Which brings me to the contact sheet. The 12 images on one page, I think thats where my stream of consciousness sequencing started. Where different worlds meet on the same contact sheet. Even if I make digital images, I turn them into contact sheets of 12.

I think the mobile museums are an expansion of the contact sheet idea. That I did not have to show single images because thats how others saw photography. Who decides that Photography should be shown as a single image and not in grids of 12. Or in ten grids of 12. or 100 grids of 36.Or contact sheets of contact sheets. They are a fascinating form of diary and display, these contact sheets

But most of all the waiting for the contact sheet to return from the lab, the disappointment with what you saw not translating into film, filing them away and then returning, sometimes years later and saying OMG, how come I never noticed this before. Go Away Closer is made entirely of images that I thought of as sideys, as images made by the way, on another shoot. Imagine if I had deleted them!

The economy of Film, the contact sheet, the archiving of them, so I have every frame I ever made. The connections over time are unbelievable, that dejavu you get when you photograph a girl on her bed, that brings the words Go Away Closer to your mind and you rush back to Delhi to find images that have the same tenor…..

Perhaps I should start making a performance of how FILM works, the opening of the roll that sounds like toffee, the licking of the film after the roll is over, the reaching into your pockets hoping you still have another roll…..and most of all the accidents that you could never have on digital, that using color film after sunset to photograph from a factory tower, that started the Blue Book work.

The economy of FILM and its contact sheets

One thought on “The economy of FILM and its contact sheets

  1. Satya Teja says:

    wow..nice write up madam..I have started exploring the film from few years.. I can relate to few of the things you mentioned here..but sourcing film and developing it is becoming very hard these days.. Hope film lives stay here for ever..


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