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The Nostalgia of Printed Film: 12x12 Vancouver Photo Marathon

I either have an adventurous spirit, or maybe I just think that sometimes it’s better not to know what I’m getting into. I can’t remember why my husband and I signed up – neither one of us had really shot with film much – but in 2009, we both registered for the 12x12 Vancouver Photo Marathon.

A few days before the big event, I picked up a “Yellow Peace Wide Lens Camera” and tried one roll of film. Sadly, I took the photos at night, without a flash, and I got a whopping 3 out of the 24 photos with some kind of visible images. Oh dear. This was going to be tougher than I thought. Film is not nearly as smart as digital. I realized I could be in over my head but quickly dismissed that thought. I checked out photos taken with the same camera and found: 1) Sunny bright days are the best conditions 2) I can’t get any closer to my subject than 3 meters. Or 3 feet? I couldn’t remember. Does it matter? Wait. That means no close ups? Those are my favourite! Oh no.

The day came quickly. How long is 3 meters again? I had my banana cam ready and I got bundled up. It was early December and the conditions were the exact opposite to produce the camera’s best results – overcast and cloudy. I loaded up with the 12EXP 35 mm film provided and had the sinking feeling I hadn’t done it correctly. Then Mike and I spent the next 12 hours taking 12 photos of 12 themes, one every hour.

How did I do? Not half bad. I had 8 out of 12 photos with an image on them! Hooray! Since all 12 images had to be visible to be considered for judging, this took me out of qualifying for prizes but I didn’t care. I was so glad ANYTHING showed up. And that nagging feeling I hadn’t loaded my film correctly? Yup… my first two photos didn’t show up. My last two didn’t work because by then it was very dark and I had no flash.

I learned a lot from this film competition. I also learned about the presentation of my eight film photos.

  1. My photos presented well on a matte. This presentation made my eight photos look like a collection rather than eight randomly placed photos.
  2. Having a theme/collection of photos of the day took the pressure off of showcasing one “perfect” or “awesome” or “award winning” photo. A whole selection of nicely presented photos together like this made for a nice little display. I now have these photos lining my hallway.
  3. Are they the best photos I’ve ever taken? Not really – but the one of Mike is my favourite of the bunch. But do they look beautiful on the wall? Yes. Do they remind me of a fun day in my life? Definitely. Do they make me happy every time I walk by them? YES.

The 3rd Annual 12x12 Vancouver Photo Marathon was held August 6th. 60 participants had 12 themes to shoot in 12 hours in just 12 exposures. The film has been developed and converted to digital format for printing. The judges’ picks for the top four images will have their work printed and mounted on aluminum mounting panels by Opus. The top 12 photos from each theme will be on stretched canvas, also printed by Opus.

All images will be on exhibited September 25th in the halls of PhotoHaus Gallery at the Vancouver Photo Workshops (14 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver). This showcase will be followed by an exhibit of the winners work held in the gallery of the Vancouver Lookout (555 West Hastings Street, Vancouver). www.vancouverphotomarathon.com