My journey with film photography

....from learning how to develop my own film in a dark room in my high school photography class, to making a career with a digital camera, to re-discovering film photographer years later.

I remember the black rotating door that led me into the dark room in my high school photography class. The smell of the chemicals, and the shock your eyes feel as they quickly had to adjust to the darkness in the room. The only light source in the room were from lamps with red light, which faintly reflected off the glossy paper onto which I would burn my images from the film strips.

I remember my eyes straining with focus as I looked at the film strips trying to discern how my images turned out. Sometimes not knowing until they were finally burned onto the paper, bathed it in the different chemicals, hung to dry, then finally brought back into the fluorescent lighting of the classroom to take a good look at it.

All of the photos we processed in that class were black and white, and some of my favorite photos I've ever taken of my pets growing up were with that film.

I continued taking photos with that old SLR camera for a little while after my class ended. Once I entered college, though, I left my film camera at home and swapped it for the popular Sony point and shoot digital camera that everyone had (since camera phones were not good quality yet). Little did I know, I never finished that last roll of film that was inside the camera. It would continue to sit there for the next 15-ish years until I found it in a box of "photo stuff" just last week. I finished the roll of film that was in the camera, and sent it off to the lab. I was very anxious to see what photos had been sitting there undeveloped for all that time!

I finally got my images back and here are a few from the mystery roll revealed:

What a wonderful surprise to see images of my pets I had growing up documented in images that I had never seen before. It was a little glimpse into the past that I will treasure always!

I've been hearing of film photography coming back to popularity amongst my peers in the photography world, but never had any interest in exploring that. It wasn't until I found my camera, and I had also recently listed to an Unscripted podcast with a photographer who ditched her mirrorless digital camera and now shoots film exclusively. I'm not saying that's what I want to do, but is a really fun and inspiring thing that has sparked a new piece of creativity in me!

I'm so excited to see where this goes!

Hi! I'm Katie Holm, family and lifestyle photographer based in Dexter, Michigan and serving the greater Ann Arbor area. I'm so happy you're here!