Monday, June 8, 2015

Playa del Carmen on film


Sometime in mid-April and fed up with the never-ending winter that encased all of New York City for months on end, J and I decided to (temporarily) rectify the problem. We cashed in a ton of points and spent the week at the ├╝ber-luxurious Paradisius Playa del Carmen La Perla, where we pretty much did nothing but lay in a thatched-roof Bali bed for hour on end, punctuated only by a dip in the pool or a plate of nachos. 


One afternoon, however, we decided to get off our butts and head in to town. Since we were told it was a 30 minute walk and it was approximately 115 degrees out, we had the hotel call a taxi - a wise choice considering the heat and the possibly not-so-safe trek we would have had to make along sparse Mexican roads, but also a not-worth-it choice because the round-trip in a cab came to about $30 for what amounted to two 10-minute drives. But whatever, when in Rome, right?


The town was dusty and touristy. Vendors hawked every tchotchke imaginable, and though brightly colored "authentic" Mexican goods lined 5th Avenue (the main street), the chain restaurants, jewelry stores, and two shopping malls made clear that it was quite obviously a cruise ship port city. Nevertheless, we walked from one end to the other and back again (about 2 miles round trip), stocked up on the requisite magnet and keychain, and enjoyed the carless and colorful street.


I also took a ton of pictures. I'd intentionally left my DSLR at home for this trip (which turned out to be the right choice), but I did bring my Diana Mini, my new(ish) 35mm plastic-body toy camera. There weren't a ton of opportunities to use it while wandering around the resort, but downtown Playa del Carmen proved to be the perfect place to take it out for a walk.


This was my third roll of film with this camera (see the first one here) and easily my favorite. The pictures have a rich and creamy quality to them, and though I had some resolution issues scanning them into my computer, in person they are quite vivid and noiseless. There's also that magic of snapping a photo and having no idea if it'll come out or not. I made the bold choice to not use my iPhone once while walking around the town - so if something had gone wrong with the loading or the processing, I'd have no pictures from that day. Granted, nothing too monumental took place that day - we ambled around a tourist trap that looked like every other Caribbean town I'd ever been to. But still, I took a chance. I obviously will not be retiring either my iPhone or my DSLR, but I'll have a bit more confidence from now on to maybe leave those other cameras back in my bag in the spirit of the photographic unknown.

These photos were shot on a Lomography Diana Mini Camera with Photo Porst Chrome X (100) film. The negatives were processed at one location (let's call it Wrong-Aid) and developed at the Lomography Lab when I realized that the first place couldn't deal with the alternative square sizing of the pictures.

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