san francisco


It's kind of cool to see the young cats getting into film photography these past couple of years. Brings back good memories for me from back in the day when there was no choice,

I'd use Kodak Plus-X and Tri-X for most of my stuff. I did all my own developing, 20 or 30 rolls most weeks with D-76 and print maybe 10 worthwhile images from that. Actually, that'd be a good week if I got that much really worth printing.

I mostly used Oriental paper, grade 2 or 3 usually did the trick. Can't really remember what chemistry I used for printing. Most likely Dektol. I used all Kodak shit. It was all good fun and I learned a lot over many years. I also spent a lot of money on that habit. Who knows how much for film, paper and chemistry. Luckily, I used to hustle around helping people out and always had access to good darkrooms for free.

Back then, it was a way of life. I'd hardly ever talk about films and chemistry with people. Pretty boring stuff if you ask me. I would talk printing techniques now and then cuz the print was ultimately all that mattered. I'd hit the streets and shoot or whatever, then hung with a few photographers to talk some photo stuff now and again. But you'd more likely find me in a bar talking about almost anything else with the characters that inhabited San Francisco then who'd tell stories upon stories. 

Well, like I said it's kind of cool that I see a lot film being shot. Not sure how many do their own developing or printing. Seems like a lot of people scan the negs and print from there on a printer or just post to Instagram. It's cool by me whatever way you go. As for me, I can't afford to shoot film these days and digital is obviously so good I'm not gonna go back anytime soon.

The only advantages of film to me is that you're not looking at every shot you take and you have a finite amount of shots. You develop a sense of what's good, whether it be the subject, the light or the vibe. It's like a sixth sense. You learn to trust yourself, to accept loss and appreciate when you've got something great that you may not have realized.

The shot above was during my Diane Arbus phase, shooting a lot with a hard flash at night on the streets of San Francisco. This was maybe the night before the Gay Pride parade, I'd say in 1994 or 95. It was a different world man. No Instagram or any of that stuff. Just drinking, shooting and showing my freaky friends my prints. All for the love of photography. Not to be liked, or share what I did with 100's of thousands of people. It was something that kept me alive and excited. I was lost in my own world and didn't give a shit what anyone thought about me and my cameras or what I did with them.