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It’s cool to be part of the old school

September 17, 2011
By Brent Kepner , The Inter-Mountain

Have you ever noticed how some things come back into style after they have been gone a while? Neckties, suit jacket lapels and women's skirt styles are all good examples. Wide ties and suit lapels start skinny, get wide and back to skinny again. Skirt lengths work their way from ankle length to miniskirts and back down again.

Another good example of this would be film. Film was everywhere in its heyday and now it can hardly be found anywhere. A few weeks ago I was shopping in an Urban Outfitters store and was surprised to find a bunch of film. The reason they were selling film was to go along with their line of lomography cameras. A Lomo is basically a real cheap plastic camera that takes bad pictures and people sometimes have the film purposely processed in the wrong type of chemicals to get strange effects.

Yes, I know most photographers whole goal in life is to take good pictures; but this is an arty thing and it is very popular right now especially with the young whipper snappers who have never experienced the joy of loading a roll of film and waiting to see your pictures. I remember back in the day when I walked three miles in the snow barefoot to buy a 24 exposure roll of film. Sorry, I got sidetracked.

Film will never come back to where it was 10 years ago, but it is still holding on. Last winter I was just about ready to stop processing film and lo and behold people started bringing in rolls of film. I don't know where they are coming from, but we still do enough rolls to justify the expense of maintaining the equipment.

The act of processing film is quickly becoming an art of its own. Most photo labs no longer have staff that have been around long enough to get the film out of the canister much less keep the processing chemicals in control so your film doesn't get ruined. So I guess we will continue to process film until it goes out of style again.

By the way, for the folks who are not cool anymore, Urban Outfitters is a very popular store with the younger crowd that sells unusual retro items for people with a weird sense of humor. That's describes me perfectly, except for the young part.

(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a Master Photographer, Certified Professional Photographer and past president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia.)



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