The Meaning of Wasting Films

05/04/2018

Security check at Chengdu airport, 2017/04

Sometimes I have to travel with unfinished roll of film inside the camera. Though it’s generally accepted that unprocessed films below 800 ISO are safe with the X-ray scan through airport security, I was superstitious and stubborn enough to insist
on hand checking.

This usually requires a process that I take a photo in front of the security staff, wind the camera and show the changed reading on the counter. And most of time I’m not allowed to do the settings, focusing and framing properly since it’s a place that prohibits photo taking, so it’s just about wasting the film and demonstrating I have a real camera.

Consequently, I dragged myself into a long-term project of wasting films, which turned out to be not so boring and somehow reminded me of the fact how film physically interacts with the real world.

When making a contact sheet or just laying the developed films on a light panel, the wasted frame just looks so obvious and separates two places, marking an airport in between.

Kuala Lumpur airport, 2017/06

Tokyo Narita, 2016/06

Chengdu airport, 2016/06

Beijing airport, 2017/10

Langkawi airport, 2017/08

Tokyo Narita, 2018/02

Kunming airport, 2017/08