Alright, so get this: I’ve been working in the curation department of Sacramento State’s Archaeology Research Center for over a year now, and, like most people who work in close proximity of one another, I got to know my coworkers very well. I was hired on to be lab’s photographer, so I thought it was obvious to everyone that I enjoyed photography. If my application for the position wasn’t clear enough, the monthly sharing of my recently developed film photos had to be, right?
But it wasn’t until I left work one day to purchase a point-and-shoot film camera from a Craigslist seller that my co-workers really took notice. You should have seen their faces when I walked back into work with a film camera, and not the hefty digital DSLR Canon they probably anticipated. “Oh my god, you clocked out of work for this?” My supervisor questioned through her chuckles. “Why didn’t you just take one of our cameras?” My eyes widened, and my jaw slowly dropped until I was able to mouth “What cameras?” back to her.
Too anxious to wait until we finished eating lunch, I had her show me exactly what she was talking about. We walked back to the dark room and there it was—a tall, locked gray cabinet that stood not ten feet from me, as it had every other day, for over the past year. She unlocked it with a tiny silver key that I’d never seen before, and lo and behold, the cabinet was filled with old cameras, projectors, expired film, camera straps, and lenses! At this point, my jaw had hit the floor out of shock that I’d never been told this treasure chest existed. Even more shocking was when I realized I didn’t know every inch of that dark room like I thought I did. How had I never bothered to ask what was in the one and only locked cabinet? I started grabbing cameras left and right, geeking out while my supervisor laughed. As soon as the thought came into my head, I asked if I would be able to use the cameras for personal use outside the department. With their permission, the camera’s became the center of this project called EXPIREmental.
In my opinion, film is an extremely intimate form of photography. I have a relationship with every film camera that I own. They’ve usually come into my life through my grandfather; he used to work for Sony and had cameras gifted to him left and right. The characteristics and personalities of each camera emerge more and more with every roll that’s developed. My cameras and I have been together for a long time, and it has strengthened the connection I have to to them.
Coming from using personal, well-known cameras, to shooting with these random, dusty cameras feels like I’m going on a blind date. It’s unknown territory with a personality that will only be defined over the next few months. There is no established connection yet, no background, no expectations. Oh blind dates, they’re so much pressure! Which knob to turn? Where to stop? Will it even work? Hopefully we will get to know the Anthropology Department’s cameras together through this ongoing project.
Methodology: The first roll used in one of the cameras was an expired roll I got from the cabinet, giving the project its name. I had no idea what the quality of the photos would be like or how well these cameras would work. Rather than purchasing batteries for each one, I used the application Light Meter to help identify the best setting balance I should adjust the camera settings to. Talk about unknown territory—I’ve never used Light Meter before either!
So here I give you photos taken by the camera that started it all - the Ricoh. It’s my first point-and-shoot film camera, and to tell you the truth, I’ve fallen madly in love. It shoots well, is easy to use, and it quickly captures my memorable moments. The Ricoh is officially my go-to camera when I know I don’t want to think about the settings.
I hope you enjoy these pictures from the Ricoh, and I’ll report back soon about my first date with the Honeywell Pentax!
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Placeholder.