Back in the old days (okay, not that long ago, just a couple of years) David and I did a lot of photography with film, mostly using obsolete or unusual equipment. Alternative process photography, I suppose you'd call it.We printed our own black and white photos in the darkroom, we shot with toy cameras like the Holga and the Lomo, we manipulated polaroid SX-70 film and did polaroid emulsion transfers and lifts and David made his own Viewmaster reels and 3-D slides. We had a couple of gallery shows and belonged to an artist's co-operative and we could spot (and put down) digitally produced photographic "art" from across the room. It was all a lot of fun, but it was pretty expensive and time consuming too, which we especially began to notice once we bought a house in 2003. Then in 2004 we finally gave in and bought a little point and shoot digital camera "just for fun". Soon we weren't taking many photos with anything else and we had to admit (even though we hated to) that digital could be kind of cool. When polaroid stopped making many kinds of instant film a further blow was dealt to our bond with film. I learned more about photoshop and my digital photos started looking better and I had to admit that I was impressed, but felt a little guilty about what I could do so quickly and effortlessly. Sure, I had enjoyed those hours spent on my feet in that concrete floored, damp, smelly, possibly toxic and red-lit darkroom and you really felt liked you'd accomplished something when the image came out like you pictured it, but it was awfully nice to sit in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a cat on your lap while you pushed a few buttons and made magic happen. The final blow to film at our house came just about a year ago, when it was finally time to buy a new SLR for our month long trip to Mexico. Would it be another film camera and printing possibly hundreds of rolls of film when we got home or would we go digital? As you can guess, digital won and we became the somewhat guilt-ridden owners of a Nikon D80 as well as a point and shoot Panasonic Lumix. We still feel like we let film down. Film needed someone to defend it, but we took the easy way out and made the switch. Film hasn't been abandoned altogether - David still has his Viewmaster cameras and stereo cameras and they get quite a bit of use because yes, it IS the coolest thing in the world to have personalized Viewmasters from your wedding and all your travels. But for everyday? It's all digital all the time around here. There are lots of photoshop actions or software out there to mimic old school alternative processes but I've always steered clear of them as they just felt way too much like cheating. But we all knew I was bound to give in. I downloaded the free software from Poladroid and all you do is drag and drop your photo in, watch and wait while it develops (or shake it, just like in the old days) and taa-daa! Instant polaroid-looking photos with the paper borders, the vignetting, the odd colour shifts and the random fuzziness that give old polaroids a lot of their charm. It still feels like cheating, but fun? Oh yeah. The flickr pool is full of inspiration. If you're like me you'll download it and then immediately want to "polaroidize" every image on your computer.