This article by Kevin Kelly is absolutely delightful and fascinating. Don’t miss out on page 2, where he shares a whole bunch of interesting tidbits about his photography and film during his travels:
I was photographing with 35mm film. I left home with 500 rolls of film in my backpack. I had 500 rolls of cellophane-wrapped boxes of film, worth a lot of money in those parts back then, and yet over 10 years, no one ever looked inside my backpack, incuding coming back to the US.
I would send home maybe 20 or 30 rolls of film at a time in a box. I asked my mom to put them in a freezer when she got them. The first thing I would do when I was back home and earning money was to start getting my rolls of film developed. It was close to $5 a photo in today’s money just to develop and print the photos. So I had to really think about it each time I pressed that shutter. It was almost too expensive to experiment. It sounds crazy now, but I often didn’t see my pictures until years after taking them! So as you could imagine, there was this really long feedback loop between when I took the picture and when I got to actually see what it looked like. That’s a horrible way to do photography where you never see your images. To make it worse, I only had a manual camera, not automatic, so my exposure and focusing could be off and I wouldn’t know it. Every few months I would buy a roll of black and white film and get it developed locally just to make sure my cameras were working.
I was shooting two rolls of film a day while traveling, about 70 photos. When I was growing up, my family would shoot a roll of 24 photos in a year, which was pretty typical. You’d have three holidays on one roll. It was considered radical, extreme to be shooting as many photos as I was. When I would tell people I shot 70 per day their jaws would drop. They couldn’t imagine how you could find 70 things to take a photo of in one day! That many pictures in a day was considered insane.
It’s amazing how much the accessibility of photography and its workflows have changed since then. And as a result, it seems as if the general interest in and love of photography is exploding.