Aris Silzars Display Technology Consulting


Reality Sets In – But It’s Hard to Let Go…

Since my early teenage years, I have had an interest in photography.  It was stimulated early on when an uncle showed me how he printed black and white pictures in his modest darkroom located in the corner of a closet in a home they were renting.  I was fascinated by the process of exposing a sheet of paper to the dim light coming from the enlarger and then seeing the image appear in the developing tray.   

I saved my money for many months to get my first “real” but modest camera – a Kodak Retinette.  I still have it.   By today’s optical standards the lens is really not very good, but at the time I was proud and happy to have it. 

Over the years, I was able to acquire cameras that were much better, had the capability of interchangeable lenses, and I subsequently added cameras with larger film formats for even better picture quality.  Along the way, I was also able to acquire my own darkroom with the capability of making color prints in sizes as large as the paper that could be purchased.   Making my own color prints and mounting them for framing became a serious hobby. 

Today the darkroom is still there.  The enlarger sits on its special table.  In the same room is a large cabinet for storing all the camera equipment.  There are 35-mm film cameras and lenses in there.   There are larger format 2 ¼ x 2 ¼ cameras and assorted lenses.  And there are all kinds of bottles and graduated cylinders for measuring developer and bleach-fix chemicals. 

However, for several years now they have not been put to use.  And while I keep thinking that one of these days I will get back to doing film photography, it doesn’t seem to be happening.  In the meantime, I am using my three digital cameras on a regular basis, cleaning up the images on my computer, and using a photographic-quality printer when I want to have something to hang on a wall or give to someone as a gift. 

Is it realistic to think that one day soon I will get back to doing film photography and printing photos in my very nice darkroom?  I have kept hoping this would happen and that I wouldn’t have to let go of over 30 years of learning and experience.   And of course no one is forcing me to do that.  If I so chose, I could spend time making prints just as I used to do. 

But It’s not happening.   The reality is that it may be time to let go of the past and move on.  The capabilities of digital cameras now exceed those of any comparable film camera.  The images from the digital cameras can be further improved using software that is now available.   And inkjet printers are now able to produce images every bit as good as one can do with darkroom chemistry.   So while I am sad that all those wonderful film cameras that sit in my cabinet are unlikely to see any more use, the good news is that my ability to make interesting photographs has only gotten better. 

Nevertheless, for me it’s still hard to let the past go.  The film cameras were made with such precision and such care.  They were like expensive watches -- functional and mechanically perfect, and meant to last for many years.  Now they are relegated to museum displays that only hint at their past glories.  Yes, indeed, it’s hard to let go. 

Have you had an easier time making the transition from film to digital?  If so, do you still have your old film cameras?   I would enjoy hearing your experiences.  You may reach me directly from this site, by e-mail at, or by phone at 425-898-9117.  



19916 NE 30th Ct. Sammamish, WA 98074 Call 425.898.9117

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