Like maybe a billion other people with iPhones & mobile camera devices I spend a lot of time taking pictures with very clever cameras that will shoot reliably in all kinds of conditions and then go about degrading them with an armoury of apps and filters. It’s a huge industry and I contribute to the coffers buying 69p / $0.99 apps for my iPhone & iPad, I must have 30+ now and will happily try more.
I used to take lots of pictures and after doing ‘A’ level photography I went on to use photo process on my Degree course. My first camera was a Zenith, I then got a Minolta XGM which traveled all over europe and through out the mediterranean. When that fell into disrepair I got a Minolta X-370s. That eventually developed some light leaks and from there I went digital.
Recently I dug the old cameras out and managed to get some out of date 35mm from a friend (thanks to Ian Davis from LPPG). The aim really is to use the analog equipment to take the kind of pictures that create using apps and then use the apps to bring them back to visible.
The first roll of film was a Jessops own brand ISO200 print film. As the XGM wont seem to wind on consistently I used the X-370s camera body with the XGM’s fixed 50mm lens. Its a slightly dirty lens but does great depth of field.
I took the film to be washed today and managed to get Boot’s to dev, print and copy to CD the pictures without doing any processing corrections. The result was a very pink set of images, many under or over exposed and purposefully double exposed by shooting a few frames and then winding the film back. The pictures where shot at Conkers Discovery Centre on a very cold dull grey day. Overall I’m pleased with the result’s. Whilst I have, like the addict I am, edited these in Snapseed, this has been done to reveal the images, rather than to disguise them in hipsta chic (not that I have anything against Hipsta Chic!).
I have another 10 films including some B/W stock, some going back to 1998. Analog work like this, maybe because of the cost, does make you a little cautious about snapping away. I also couldn’t stop my self from taking a picture and then looking at the flat black back of the camera waiting to see the image I just shot. New habits die harder than old ones it seems.
Today I asked a colleague in the ‘day job’ to scan the negatives I have. I have to confess when I first saw the machine prints yesterday I was disappointed, once I saw the digital copies I was encouraged. After I’d finished playing with those I was really quite content. But now, after getting some perfect scans from the originals I’m over joyed. Here are three strips that have everything in them that I hoped the project would produce.
The random application of double exposure.
The natural degradation you get from aged substrate & equipment
The artefacts of analog including strip marks, dust & scratches.
I find something real in these, having a greater physical permanence and naturalness. Any post processing from the scans is minimal. A quick section crop like a scissor snip, and the cursory colour balance for a screen view.
As above. Over joyed.
Open each in full and scan through the surfaces of the picture. These are things I would like to print up at a 1m tall. I take a painterly approach to these things, they are like sketches, pencil on paper. Stand by your line, make it with confidence and it will glow.