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The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

Op-Ed: Why Film Remains Relevant in the Digital Age

Caleb Meranus takes a portrait of himself in front of the School.

We can only ever live a moment once, but in the digital world, it’s hard not to be a perfectionist. 

But with photographic film, you are forced to remember a moment with just one picture. 

I first started shooting film when I was in 8th grade.

I spent some saved allowance on a roll of Ilford black and white film and threw it in my mom’s 1992 college graduation gift film camera, a Canon EOS ELAN

I knew nothing about the exposure triangle and didn’t even know what ISO, or film speed, was. I didn’t bother developing the roll. I knew that all the pictures would turn out black due to overexposure. 

I continued to learn though.

Each picture captures a moment, but more than that, it captures a feeling.

I took a digital class and learned about aperture, ISO, and about the triangle. 

I’ve spent the past year shooting films the right way, and all I can say is that I’m in love. Film as a concept has redefined the way I make memories. The idea that I have to take a picture, and trust that it’s good has taught me about living in the moment and letting things happen.

The lack of control creates an unpredictable beauty, and the satisfaction that comes from an amazing camera roll is an unmatchable feeling. 

I recently spent my final year at my childhood summer camp of seven years. This summer held the most meaning because, for the first time, my return wasn’t guaranteed.

I opted not to bring the small Canon Powershot digital point-and-shoot I had use most years and instead grabbed the film camera. 

I spent four weeks and five rolls of film capturing memories, with no promise that they would turn out well. 

Despite my uncertainty, I never hesitated with my shutter. 

With any digital camera, I would have taken the time to shoot each picture multiple times, and make sure the end result was just how I wanted it in every single picture, but with film, there isn’t that pressure. 

I lived with the knowledge that I could be taking amazing pictures, and I could be taking terrible ones, but when I looked back on them down the road, they would be authentic, and that makes them more special to me.

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  • Caleb Meranus on top of Mt. Kearsarge.

  • Caleb top of Mt. KearsargeLake Coniston on Black and White film.

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The memories made this summer were like no other.

I met somof the most amazing people, even getting stranded on an island with an ex-Olympic bobsledder turned photographer, and made the best memories.

I took pictures of everything on film, and never once worried about how they would turn out.

Looking back, I have no regrets. If I had brought my digital camera, I don’t think I would have spent so much time out living.

I hiked a mountain in the pouring rain with some of the best people I know and took two pictures.

That day was so special to me, but I didn’t let the digital age perfectionism take control.

I took one picture, and let someone else use my camera to take a picture of me. They’re both terrible. I love them. 

I took silly pictures of my friends. I took some of my favorite pictures of mine, and I certainly wasted a frame or two, but there’s no picture I dislike. 

Each picture captures a moment, but more than that, it captures a feeling. It’s hard to explain how you can hold onto a memory physically until you see a negative. 

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About the Contributor
Caleb Meranus
Caleb Meranus, Journalist
Caleb is a 9th-grade student who enjoys photography, and working behind a camera. This is his first semester in the newsroom, and he has been producing multimedia content like the segment Education of our Educators, Nolan's Soup Review, and other Gator Nation News media. Caleb has also been assisting other writers by taking pictures for their articles. You can find more of Caleb's photography work on his Instagram.

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  • EdanOct 27, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    Preach Caleb!!!