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December 15, 2011 / Aware of the Void

Schrödinger’s Film.

The Aloe Vera Highway

I just made an interesting discovery. Developing my own film has brought me one step closer to understanding the Grand Unifying Theory. I have two great passions in life Photography and Quantum Mechanics. One part of the previous sentence is a lie. Can you tell which part?

I own and happily use a digital camera but at the moment I have a preference for film photography. However I am grateful for what I learned using a digital camera. It gave me a very clear understanding of what the aperture and shutter does and how controlling these aids creativity. The instant feedback from the LCD screen allowed me to recompose and shoot again before moving on. It trained and educated me. But things are different now.

My photography work-flow has changed dramatically in the last eight months. I now guess at the required exposure settings, sometimes aided by my meter or sometimes I think my meter lies to me. I will occasionally bracket a shot to reduce the risk but the real fun is in never being sure of what I will get.

Schrödinger put his cat in a box with poison. Under certain conditions the poison would be released. In theory the cat in the box would be both alive and dead because he is not being observed. Schrödinger’s cat is used to illustrate the difficulties with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. I have a similar problem that I call the interpretation of DIY shot and developed film. You put the film in your camera shoot it and then try and develop it. While the film is in the camera or tank you can convince yourself that all the shots are both fantastic and rubbish at the same time. Your film remains in this quantum flux until they are observed.

I think this is why every time I lose or destroy a roll of film I am able to believe that it contained my best ever photos….

A Walk in the WoodsA walk in the woods – Nikon F100 // Fujifilm Neopan 1600

AlvinCute Rats? – Nikon F100 // Kentmere 100

Still a Vitamin BoostStill a Vitamin Boost – Nikon F100 // Kentmere 100


Leave a Comment
  1. johnmeadowsphotography / Dec 15 2011 7:49 pm

    If we continue the Quantum physics train of thought, when it comes to rolls of lost/destroyed film, we can take comfort of the “many worlds” interpretation of Quantum theory, meaning that there is a parallel universe where the film was not lost or destroyed …

    • Aware of the Void / Dec 16 2011 10:16 am

      Good point well made John, My roll of film has gone down one ‘trouser-leg of time’ and I went the other way. I am working on transdimensional travel but first I need to learn what all the buttons on my camera do.

  2. David Hall / Dec 15 2011 7:57 pm

    Wonderful processing, I can almost feel the texture of those grapes. If you had lost this roll, then you would have indeed lost some of your best work. Superb.

    • Aware of the Void / Dec 16 2011 10:18 am

      Thanks David, it was a whole roll of just still life stuff. I had a little set-up at home for a few hours and had a bit of fun with them.

  3. abu zar / Dec 15 2011 9:27 pm

    beautiful photos and once again enjoyed reading your post .

    I have to say I love the grapes one the most.I cant exactly pin point what it is about it that appeals so much, maybe its the depth,use of shadow and the relationship with other fruits in background(pears?). they take the attention away only momentarily but the eyes keep coming back around the grapes again and again!

    and I can almost sense the taste of the juices on putting one of these in my mouth 🙂

    • Aware of the Void / Dec 16 2011 10:19 am

      Thank you Abu, not just for looking but for seeing. It is nice to think someone has engaged so much with one of my photos.

  4. marinachetner / Dec 15 2011 10:29 pm

    wow – I have SO MUCH to learn. i am up to the part in your post where you state: “what the aperture and shutter does and how controlling these aids creativity. The instant feedback from the LCD screen allowed me to recompose and shoot again before moving on.”
    Three weeks into it… and then I have to go back a year later to film to learn even more? ARGH!

    For now, I will look to your post for excellent photos. I like the two top shots: the mountains and woods 🙂

    • Aware of the Void / Dec 16 2011 10:23 am

      Thanks Marina, just remember it is not about the destination it is about the journey….agh…
      The mountains and woods would be two of my personal favours. The mountains because something clicked right for me when I was out shooting that day and I knew I got the shot before I developed them and the woods because it was the first time that anything worked for me using neopan1600 – which I read yesterday is being discontinued so that was a waste of time…

  5. yarglags / Dec 15 2011 11:47 pm

    Hi’ thanks for viewing my blog and for the posts you liked. I was just reading this post and I can really relate to your tale/tail of the lost film. I had a sad loss of a 120 slide film destroyed in the tank. I don’t remember what was on it but I’m sure it was my best work ever… Ever…

    • Aware of the Void / Dec 16 2011 10:28 am

      I am sad to read of your loss of your 120, I know the roll I have lost is one that I went into the desert to shoot. It was bulk rolled B+W that was re-rolled onto a c41 canister. So at least I proved to myself that you can process C41 in B+w chemicals but it won’t work the other way…

      My best work ever…..EVER…

  6. Aware of the Void / Dec 16 2011 10:02 am

    Schrödinger’s Cat- Well really he is my Cat, we call him Kitten/Pure Evil

    crazy eye kitten

    • wolke205 / Dec 16 2011 5:57 pm

      Beautiful photos! Especially the forrest one, amazing! Awww, this is your cat? Looks a bit like my Garfield (passed away 2005) 🙂

    • kathryningrid / Dec 22 2011 11:44 pm

      Young Mr. Evil does have a certain air about him, with those slightly hooded eyes and the ears laid back in irritation . . . don’t be surprised if he already knows about the poison in the box and pulls a fast one on you. Consider yourself warned. 😉

      • Aware of the Void / Jan 2 2012 6:24 pm

        That cat is pure evil and I never turn my back on him…..

    • nursemyra / Apr 15 2012 8:47 pm

      I like a ginger cat. I have a Siamese but if I ever got a second, ginger would be my choice. Love your black and white photography, you capture textures really well

      • Aware of the Void / Apr 16 2012 8:41 am

        This evil tiger choose us. We used to live in a very rural part of Ireland and one year we were very badly over run with mice. The same week week found this kitten abandoned in a hedge near our house – he is a one cat killing machine. Thanks for your compliment on the B+W stuff it is a bit of a preference at the moment…

  7. postdigitalblog / Dec 17 2011 6:42 am

    This is just stunning work!

  8. Nandini / Dec 17 2011 3:52 pm

    Quantum Mechanics fascinates me too. I guess that what made me read your post with enthusiasm instead of just enjoying the photography. I loved reading it, and could grasp the whole concept of cat in the box and your undeveloped films. Great interpretation.. and really great photos. 🙂

  9. KatiesCameraBlog / Dec 17 2011 5:49 pm

    I love this. It’s true, a photo not scene yet is both the best photo ever and the worst. Great post, and fantastic images. And I agree, I used to shoot film, but I’m a much better photographer with digital. it’s allowed me to really learn and wast pictures learning. Great post. 🙂

    • Aware of the Void / Dec 18 2011 5:41 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Katie, I still use my digital but it is having a little rest at the moment. I am enjoying the new options and view of the world that the film camera is giving me.

  10. chazzw / Dec 18 2011 5:25 pm

    Nice images.

    I heard the other day that there is a newly developed camera that allows focus AFTER snapping a digital image!

  11. sibokk / Dec 19 2011 8:23 am

    I guffawed at ‘Cute Rats’!

    I see your film theory and vehement concur. There could be anything in these rolls I shoot. It could be photos of the second gunman by the grassy knoll for all I know (of course that’s just silly).

    Nicely written post.

    • Aware of the Void / Dec 20 2011 9:15 am

      well Simon, thanks to the many-worlds interpretation there is a good chance that you shot JFK…now there is an interesting twist aided by the use of quantum mechanics.
      Thanks for stopping by..

  12. Rick Schuster / Dec 19 2011 3:38 pm

    Wonderful photos! I never guessed I’d be learning about quantum mechanics today. I love the analogy — it’s right on. You’re quite right that you can easily believe that any roll while yet undeveloped is both the best and worst you’ve ever shot. I never thought about it quite like that, but I think that’s why I so love that moment when I first see my images from a roll of film that I might have shot weeks earlier.
    With digital you know whether the cat’s alive or dead right away. With film you can believe it’s both until it’s developed.
    Great post.

  13. yearstricken / Dec 22 2011 11:09 am

    The photo of the woods is my favorite, but all of them are great. You have a good eye, and you write well.

  14. kathryningrid / Dec 22 2011 11:46 pm

    I like your sensibility with black and white work. Good stuff!

  15. mostlymonochrome / Jan 9 2012 5:03 pm

    When I get my negatives developed I am often convinced the shot was better and someone must have clipped one off the role while I’m not looking.

  16. Kate Anthony / Jan 11 2012 4:07 am

    Great images, once again! I think a photo taken with a manual camera automatically has more authenticity.. and developing them on your own must be quite a fun hobby! I’ve always been interested in doing that, but from what I can understand it can be quite costly. Since you’re just starting out, maybe you could keep all of us followers posted on your progress in the process with some blog posts? I know I’d be very interested in hearing more about developing film.

  17. Caryn / Jan 28 2012 4:16 am

    Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway’s first wife lost the one and only manuscript for one of his early books. His best ever? We’ll never know. Another well-written post and lovely photos. I’m sorry it took me so long to come check out your blog, Brendan (a bit overwhelmed by real-world stuff at the moment). You are very talented! Now that I’ve seen your work I am that much more appreciative that you have spent time viewing my blog and “liked” some of my photos. Thank you! 🙂

    • Aware of the Void / Jan 28 2012 10:39 am

      Caryn, I really enjoy your blog and it is always nice to visit. I always give-out when my life gets in the way of my hobby…I might have the missing Hemingway novel. I have a lot of stuff jammed into a room in the house and anything could be in there.

  18. Maya Guesthouse Project / Feb 5 2012 9:14 am


    first of all we would like to thank you for your interest in our straw bale hotel.
    We are photographers ourselves and can only recommend to at least learn to how to develop films.
    It gives you a greater understanding of how a picture is created.

    We wish you a lot of success with your blog and a happy 2012.

    Greetings from Switzerland


  19. ShimonZ / Feb 12 2012 7:36 am

    enjoyed looking at your photography

  20. musickna / Sep 15 2014 1:34 am

    Nicely put – and I have come to a similar conclusion since I began developing my own film. Love the photos, by the way.


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