I’ve had to make a few changes in my life for 2018.   We’ve always had a comfortable lifestyle, the Noellert family.  We’re not wealthy or even rich or affluent, but we’re not middle class.  Ester says were “bougie” from time to time which makes my face do this weird sideways smirk that makes people ask me if I’m in a bad mood.  That may be historically more correct than she knows but then let’s call it like it is, we’re haute bourgeoisie.  I like that more.

Our bougie lifestyle has meant Ginya and Malibu Farms quite often.  Shoppigs sprees for tops from Urban Outfitters, bottoms from Brandi Melville and a that new pair of Superstars.  Sketchboxes, Chatbooks and New York Times a-plenty–Netflixes and Spotifys and Apples galore.  You want iPhones?  We’ve got 20.  But who cares, no big deal, we buy more.

And so it goes.  The money comes and the money goes and as I try to stop the bleeding there are obvious things that can be quickly culled.  Simple subscription services are canceled with the swipe of a finger.  Budgets can be created for food and for shopping.  Tough choices need to be made for sure, but none so tough as the realization I had a couple weeks ago.  

I need to stop shooting film–maybe forever but at least for 2018 and while that realization feels like my soul is being ripped apart, between my stock and processing costs, if I’m going to get ahead of my finances I have to stop shooting on a physical medium.  So I’ve begrudgingly packed-up all of my favorites–the Leica M7 and the Mamiya 6MF and the Hassy and the FM2–in their respective bags and put them in the closet.  I have a couple rolls left to shoot out but I’m saving them for Mardi Gras or Stockholm this summer.  I am Jacks wasted life.  

I’ve charged up my M9 and taken it with me the past couple weekends.  It feels all wrong.  It goes to sleep sometimes and doesn’t wake-up in time to make the image.  Sometimes it won’t turn on at all, sometimes it refuses turn off.  It feels kinda right in the the hand but I’m shooting tons more and find I’m concentrating significantly less.  I find myself chimping.  But worst of all the images themselves feel worthless because somewhere in my head I know that they cost nothing to make.  Not only that but there’s no physical record of what had to happen for that image to exist–the image only exists when I look at it on my laptop or on the back of the camera.  Then there’s the aesthetic of the image–the just don’t look right.  The gamma is wrong, the contrast is wrong.  The colors are wrong, the sharpness is wrong, the highlights clips, the shadows are shit.  WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.  It’s all fucking WRONG.    

I feel fucked.  So much so that I don’t really feel like shooting anymore.  So much so that I don’t feel like sitting in lightroom and even importing these wrong images.  So much so that I don’t much care to process my last 10 rolls of film because just seeing those processed negs is just going to depress me more.  So much so that I have bothered to write a daily for at least week.  So much so that I don’t have the energy to will to post.  In the back of my mind there’s this nagging feeling.  The images that I make have always had an inherent value to me partially because I know that each and every one had a cost attached to them and I made those images because I thought that each and every one was worth that cost.  How am I supposed to feel when I can’t really afford the cost of my art anymore?  I’ve always thought my images were film worthy, but maybe they weren’t after all and what’s the point of doing something if it no longer brings you joy.  

Shot on my Leica M7 at 35mm on Kodak Portra 800 and processed at the Icon.

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