Took a long weekend to help out at my kids' school festival, and to go on a field trip with my daughter's class to the Marin headlands, right at the northern base of the Golden Gate Bridge. I've already killed one digital camera in the past year due to some uncontained dampness and didn't fancy ruining another by plunking it in the bay, so I hauled along my grandfather's old Rollei 35, a fascinatingly tiny little 35mm camera. My daughter kept insisting on seeing the photos I had taken immediately after, and was having trouble coping with the solid black panel on the back.
"Where's the picture, dad?"
"It's inside, honey. It's on film. I can't open it up, or the pictures won't come out."
I'm sure that she thinks that The Old Man is Crazy. After all, her own camera from Fisher-Price has an LCD right on the back, so she can easily check out her latest shots ("A series of feet.") Unlike her older brother, she's never been confined with me in a bathroom-turned-darkroom to watch the magic of the image materializing on paper. Available bathrooms are in short supply these days, so she's just going to have to wait, but I am thinking about cleaning out the old processing tanks and at least letting her "appreciate" the anticipation of seeing a wet roll of negatives slowly reveal themselves as they are unspooled and hung overnight in the shower to dry.
If the ability to handle delayed gratification is a sign of intelligence, then photographers must be very intelligent indeed.