I think a commonality we all have as film photographers the excitement, self-doubt, and surprise that comes along with developing a each roll of film. Maybe it can summed up as "expectation vs reality", and not in a funny meme way but in a very private and self-reflective sort of way. Currently it's been 80 days, 6 countries, and 19 rolls of film since I have developed a single picture. So I can assure you I am full of excitement and full of self-doubt.
Not developing any film for nearly three months has not been for a lack of resources or even some artistic statement. Why I did this is not that interesting nor the story I want to tell, but a necessary prologue to this piece.
In February 2017 I sold off all but three cameras and left New York for Europe to find a new country to live in. As a non-European citizen I am forced to dance around the continent a bit to avoid legal trouble. In the summer I found myself living outside of the European Union in Belgrade, Serbia. When entering a country for the first time there are three things always on my mind; getting local currency, finding a sim card for my phone, and discovering analog camera shops.
I found only one shop that developed film (and zero places selling gear). Though to my delight film processing and scanning was only 550 Serbian Dinars a roll. For $5.47 or 4.64 Euros I could have my 35mm color negative film processed, scanned at 5444 x 3649 pixels, and emailed back to me in about 2 hours. And if I were to self scan, processing alone would cost 1.49 USD or 1.26 EUR.
I traveled some more and made my way to New York where I couldn't bring myself to fork out the $20+ knowing it was 1/4th the cost back in Serbia and just under half in Budapest (where I spend most of my time). So that's all really, I decided I wouldn't develop any film until I was able to make a trip back to Serbia. All very logical of course.
The interesting things is that today is the I develop my 600+ photos. But before I lay eyes on a single image I want to externalize my normally private thoughts on this commonality.
This article will span my 8 hour train ride to Serbia [from Budapest] as I try to recollect the images I have taken, the story behind them, and what drew me to the image. By the time you read it I will have gotten the images back and placed them with their corresponding memories. Which images stuck in my mind and why I cannot answer. I hope you find some amusement, peace-of-mind, or inspiration from what's to come.
To read the rest of this article and view 70+ images, please view it at its original publishing location - 35mmc.com