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Photograph Nana, Female Nude by Richard Keeling on 500px

Nana, Female Nude by Richard Keeling on 500px

I woke up early this morning and fell back into a short, delicious dream of sexual longing involving my first lover, V_____. Set in a rental flat adjacent to the entirely fictitious street of Westcourt Station in a town that seemed to resemble Brighton.

Why the street sign for ‘Westcourt Station’ should have featured so memorably beats me, but apart the curious fact that the bedroom of the apartment seemed to lead directly to the dining room of a large and well-heeled restaurant, the main thrust of the dream was the anticipation of delightful sensual sex.

I woke up before that happened but, for once, didn’t really feel I missed anything. For the essence of the dream was in the contemplation of pleasures to come, not in their actual realisation.

As I lay in my bath shortly after waking up, a good half hour after my normal rising, I found myself linking the dream with my current preoccupation with film photography.

It’s become clear to me that out of all the aspects of using film that differ from digital, the element of anticipation is the prominent pleasure. I find that period between actually taking the photograph and finally developing it to be wholly delightful. It’s the absolute opposite of instant gratification where the reward is immediate but ephemeral. Knowing that my image – good, bad or indifferent – is locked away inside camera or film cannister patiently awaiting my action, my very physical and chemical action, to bring it to life is as delicious a feeling as any I’ve known.

Contrast that with a quick chimp after a digital shot, even a chimp disguised as a histogram check. To be sure, the tiny image on the back of your camera is only a pale foreshadowing of what will eventually grace your computer monitor, but it’s still quite close enough to judge it. With film I won’t be able to judge it for hours, days or weeks. Time will pass, and when I do get to the image, it will be a rediscovery. More often than not a pleasurable rediscovery too.

This has even directly influenced the way I treat digital shots. In the past, I would be in a hurry to get them off the memory card and onto the computer. Nowadays, they can sit there for days before I bother to download them.

Slowing down.

That’s really what it’s all about. Slowing down and letting the process percolate rather than rushing for the finish.

That’s the recipe for the best sex. Turns out it’s just the same for photography.

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