Nothing ever lasts forever, as Echo and The Bunnymen sang back in 1997. Which is an unbelievable 24 years ago as I write this.
It’s a timeless sentiment though, as Fuji continue to demonstrate with every film stock they discontinue. Like the Industrial 400 the shots you see here were taken on, for example.
This isn’t going to be a moan or a rant about that. I don’t want to post anything negative on this website unless I really have to. And I never really have to.
Let’s keep things positive instead. There are plenty of reasons why I think we should be shooting and creating as much as we can. So let’s have a look at some of them.
We won’t always have what we’ve currently got
Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. So sang Joni Mitchell back in 1970.
Take Fujicolor Pro 400H, for example. While it was quite high on my list of films to shoot, there was always a few too many others above it for me to get around to buying any.
And then it was gone; the announcement of its discontinuation quickly followed by all the normal online stores very quickly selling out of their remaining stock.
Before this happened, it was really just another item on my to-do list. Buy 400H, shoot it, write about it. I had the opportunity to do so, but I never did. Because I didn’t know time was limited.
And that’s what I’m lamenting the loss of here. If Joni was right, and she was, then it’s not the actual film I missed out on. I’m not that bothered about the plastic container with a plastic strip covered on one side with light-sensitive silver halide crystals.
No. What I missed was the opportunity to shoot it and the results I could have gotten from it. That’s what I didn’t know I had until it was gone. So I’m glad I took the opportunity to shoot even just one roll of this Industrial 400 before Fuji nixed that too.
So that’s the first thing to shoot while you can – any films that might be on your wish list that one day not be available to you anymore.
You’ll never be here again
We will never be here again, as Brad Pitt said to Rose Byrne in 2004. And that brings us to the next point about shooting what you can, while you can.
We’ve already established I’m glad I shot a roll of Fujicolor Industrial 400 before it got discontinued. On top of that though, I’m also glad I shot it in the place that I did. The – in my opinion at least – underrated city of Wuxi.
It’s a place I always enjoyed visiting during my time in China, and I can tell you those visits were numerous – as you can see from this post where I shot some Kodak Ultramax and this one where I shot with a vintage Super-Takumar 28mm f3.5 on a digital camera.
To take this back to its original premise though, my issue now is that because I no longer live in China, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see Wuxi again.
I suppose I could always check other people’s photographs from there on Instagram or even just on Google Images to see how the place is doing, but I feel that would be an ultimately empty pursuit.
When I look back at my photographs from Wuxi, I remember being there and I remember taking them. And I feel like the images themselves would be nothing without that.
The same must be true of wherever you go. Surely you don’t want to get back from a trip or even a day out, to a place you may well never go back to, and only have strangers’ photographs to help you remember it?
And speaking of places you may never go back to, and to tie this in with not knowing what we have until it’s gone, you don’t always know when a visit to a place will be the last time. I certainly had no notion of that while I was walking around Wuxi shooting this roll of film.
So we’re not only talking about rolls of film here with shooting what you can, while you can. Fuji can discontinue stocks all they want. We’re thinking and looking far wider than that. We’re also thinking and looking at the subject matter.
Places, things, and – perhaps most importantly and something I don’t do enough of – people close to you too.
Shoot what you can because you can
Look. If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip?
Not my words, Barry. The words of Eminem. But maybe it’s another good sentiment to keep in mind when thinking about your photography.
Not that you’ll be able to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment of course, unless you somehow take a single photograph that makes all your dreams come true. But we can stretch that opportunity out over a longer period of time. Like, say, a lifetime perhaps.
If you want to do photography and you have the ability to do so, then please do so. Because not everybody can. Some don’t have the means to buy a camera. And others don’t have the physical ability to use one if they did have one.
Have you heard of Anthony Carbajal? He has ALS. And he’s still out there shooting.
Don’t sit here in a year beating yourself up because you haven’t shot much in the last year, like I haven’t at the time of writing this. Don’t lie on your deathbed regretting that you didn’t create as much as you could have while you had the chance. The chance of a lifetime.
You have this opportunity to do something great with your photography. Just by being alive and able, you have the opportunity. Your one moment, as Marshall Bruce Mathers III put it, lasts until you can no longer do it.
So we’re not only shooting what we can, while we can here. We’re now also doing because we can.
Wrapping up and signing off
It’s time to end this post now and I have a few reasons why I wish to do so.
First is that to waffle on further would be to bury in unnecessary words the points already made, and I’d rather they remain as undiluted and easy for you to remember as possible.
Second is that I’m not going to use any more of my time on this when I have so many more things I could be doing instead. More film to shoot, more posts to write. That sort of thing.
Third is that I’m out of photographs from this Fujicolor Industrial 400 to show you. Probably forever, seeing as it’s been discontinued. Although there might be some expired stuff still left on eBay.
And that is just about that. Shoot what you can, while you can. The films we still have, while we have them. The places you’re at, while you’re at them.
And do it all while you can, because you can. 🙂
If you enjoyed that post, why not take a look at these others to stay inspired or learn more about some other films I’ve shot and reviewed:
- My comprehensive review of Fujicolor Industrial 400
- Shooting Fujicolor Industrial 100 in Shanghai
- Some more of my film photography from Wuxi
And if you think others will enjoy this post on shooting what you can, while you can, help them find it by giving it a share. 😀