The other day, I found an old, exposed roll of film waiting to be developed. This roll of film had already been waiting for eight long years. Agfa had filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and I was left with no place to develop my favorite B&W slide film, the venerable Agfa Scala. I was immediately tempted to see if it was still possible to develop Scala. Searching on the internet led me to DR5 in Denver. As I shipped the film over, I was not sure what to expect. The film may have become brittle and I certainly did not recall all the frames that might exist on this film. After a seemingly long wait, the package finally arrived after about fifteen days.
As I sat perusing the newly developed slides, my little niece came over wondering what were these things I was looking at.
“What are these?”
“These? These are slides.”
I realized she had never seen my slides.
“Well, slides are photos.”
“So, we can see these on your computer?”
“No. We have to scan these first…convert them to be viewed on computer. But, here…look through this viewer. Do you see something?”
“Yes!! It is a photo! I see a photo.”
“Okay. Do you want to see it on a projector?”
“Pro-jec-tor? Haha..Pro-jec-tor…haha…what is that?”
She kept laughing. She had never heard of a projector and kept on repeating the word.
It was time to show her a new thing, the projector. We went looking for my slide projectors that had not been touched for about six years. I took one of these down from the high perch and after dusting the lens, we set up the projector. I wanted her to see how beautiful the slides looked when projected. Reaching for one of the newly arrived slides, I put the slide in the projector. Turning off the lights of the room and looking at the projected slide on the wall, she sat mesmerized.
“Wow! Can you put me on a slide?”
“Sure. We can do it later.”
“I want it now. Right now. Let’s take a photo and put in this projector.”
“That is not possible. You see, we have to shoot a slide film, send it for development, and then it comes back in the form of slides. So, we cannot have it right now.”
“Why not? What is film? What is slide film?”
I showed her an unexposed slide film. Being used to my digital cameras, she still wanted to be photographed and put on a slide immediately. After trying to explain, I asked if she wanted to see some old photos using the projector.
“Yes! Let’s do it! This is fun.”
I took out some old slides and as we sat projecting those, old memories kept rushing in.
“Go, call Papa, Mummy, Dadu (Grandpa) and Amma (Grandma). I think they would like to see this one too.”
How I loved shooting these slides! Seeing a projected slide, I was able to relive those moments in my mind. And, I was rediscovering the joys of projecting the slides.
One after another, old memories flashed on the wall and all of us sat, transported back in time in the darkened room.