The Thrill of Expired Film

Part of the reason why I returned to analog was the excitement that comes from unpredictable results. I have a much different view about this today than I did in the past.

Prior to digital, I was concerned with getting the colors right with both negative and positive film. In large part this was because I didn't have the digital safety net that I do today. 

But things are different now. I shoot my commercial jobs with digital cameras dialed in exactly as I want. The results are very predictable. That's great for jobs. But photography was beginning to lose a bit of its luster for me.

So, I've gone back to analog for some of my personal work, And to both save money, and to add spice to the process, I've been buying expired film. It's a blast, especially for color work.

My latest score: a 4-roll pack that expired in March 2005.

I'm never quite sure how the images are going to look until they return from the lab. The anticipation is both sweet and torturous. When I pick up the negatives and scans, I can hardly wait to get back to the studio to view them. And I've really enjoyed the results.

Generally speaking, I buy 4-10 rolls of a particular film at a time. I'll shoot the first roll, make notes about the results, then hang on to the others in the batch until I want that look again. 

And the fact that I'm only paying $2-$3 a roll makes it all the more enjoyable.


Analog Glass on Digital Cameras

How a Data Back Can Help Add Metadata to Your Shots