March 22, 2013
Low-Fi – Using Retro 110 Film, Continued

Part 2 – Ohio

One of the best things about moving back to Cleveland from NYC is the ease with which I can connect with nature, and with nearby farms. I love the direct contact with the source of the food that sustains my body. As much as I love cities, the cycles of life, the ebbs and flows apparent in nature, are grounding to me.

Two of my favorite spots to visit for spiritual grounding are Farm Park and the Cuyahoga Valley. Especially in the summer and fall, these places are so lush. It’s always amusing to me how easily I acclimate to the shift from utter urban cacophony to the tranquility of a forest or a field.

When I was in college, I spent a lot of time in the darkroom — one semester, I took a photo class, and spent the better part of 2 days per week in there. In the evening, my part-time job was printing the darkroom for a local photographer, several nights a week. I remember one time walking outside at high noon on a cloudless day, having been in the school darkroom for hours. Surprisingly, I wasn’t blinded by the light. I realized that the eye’s pupil must work like a muscle that can be exercised — I went back and forth from darkness to light so often, that my eyes got a workout!

Now, I go back and forth between city and country, and it’s like my soul is getting a workout. Just like you need the light to expose film properly, and the dark to develop it properly, I think we also need a balance between urbanity and rural-ness. The country allows us to feel our roots, to understand where we came from, and the flow of all things.

The city shows us the power of the mind manifest, human ability, progress, and the cerebral process of conceiving of things that don’t yet exist but could one day. It’s funny, I do get a lot of great ideas in the country, but they are more like profound feelings, sensations. In the city, they tend to be powerful thoughts, as opposed to gentle feelings. I’m glad I have access to both.

Speaking of both, I just wanted to mention one of my favorite things about film — I love the particular way it can capture nuances both in shadow and highlight (digital just isn’t the same), like in the shot below of yellow flowers growing in the dappled shade, with the bright blue sky behind. Just another reason to play around with analog some time.

View my previous post on using the same kind of 110 film in NYC.

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