creativity

The Sunk Cost Fallacy and Film

I feel like I've seen a number of posts in photo forums recently about "how to shoot X"

These are not questions about people using odd and rare film, or doing cool hacks like trying to shoot 35mm film in a medium format camera. These are people talking about an old roll of Tri-X or Kodak Gold. Film that, mercifully, is still being made today.

So... to those people I say... shoot the damn roll. Just put it in your camera and find out what happens.

The difference between the cost of a frame of 35mm and the bits in digital photo is like comparing Jupiter to the Moon. I get it, that is kind of a weird thing to think about, the notion that it cost real money to make something. And while I also tend to believe that therein lies some of its value as a form of expression, there is an intermediary stage in this creative process where the film is worth nothing.

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Film is worth nothing.

Just remember that. It's not worth anything until you've shot it. You have contributed nothing of value until you click that shutter button and forever altered the chemical structure of that piece of film.

I know it's sad that Fuji discontinued Acros.

Shoot the roll.

That pack of Polaroid film cost $20? Shoot it. Put some love on it, dammit. a snapshot, a beautiful tree, your friend wearing a hat. All more valuable than blank nothing.

My Mind Salon

Around November of last year, I built a little workspace for myself. It didn't cost me anything and took me very little time. I barely even realized what I had when I created it but it feels really good that I have it now, and I feel like it's something that a lot of creative people might have but don't even realize it.

I call it a mind salon. I'm still working on the name, but it's a nice companion to things like a zibaldone. Whereas the zibaldone is your collection of thoughts and things and discoveries, the mind salon is where you put them to work.

The fact that "mind" is in the name also tells you that this is not a physical space- though I would love if it were. It's just a place I go to in my own mind that is quiet and calm and full of light and art. Some of it may be photos I've taken. Some of it may be work from other photographers. Some of it might not even be photographs: it's music and paintings and drawings and all of those other pieces of human expression.

To be honest, this is daydreaming but it's daydreaming with an element of intentionality to it. While I could conceivably access this room at any time, I find that it's best to visit it in the evening or during some other idle time, usually on the weekend.

Physically, I'm reclined, looking at the ceiling. But mentally, I'm in another place entirely. Thinking and reviewing and imagining. It's a nice place to review the large amounts of input I take in from simply existing, and it's also secluded from other things. I don't bring my dayjob into that space. I don't generally even bring other people into it.

Instead, it's a place to be alone and creative and appreciative. It's also got an element of fantasy because I can create without consuming any film or spending any money. It breaks me away from thinking about those physical expenses. And I can hang the art in my mind salon right alongside my favorite Eggleston images.

If you haven't taken time out of your more grounded living to sit back and play with a creative talent in your own mind salon. This weekend may be a good opportunity to give it a try.