If you remember, a couple of years ago I decided to start shooting film. This seemed like a big adventure after years of shooting digital and I was excited to get started. I bought an Olympus 35SP, a couple of rolls of Tri-X and all the equipment and chemistry I needed to get started. But then… I stalled… the Olympus though lovely to shoot had a light leak… I couldn’t get the film onto the rolls for the tank without dedicating about an hour to this task. Scanning results weren’t great. And… I guess I quit. Now, I’m a teacher during the day and what would I have said to one of my pupils who gave up after their first attempt? Well, I’d have told them that we can’t be perfect first time and that quitting was the easier option than working hard to improve. So, I shot another roll and this was a bit better. I used a Nikon F80 which I knew was light tight. The results were better this time. And I know if I keep going and learning all the time they will continue to improve.
I felt a bit of a fraud though, calling myself a film photographer. Buying the badges and hashtagging all my posts but then shooting mostly digital. Who was I kidding? I was a digital photographer. Then one day I was talking to Wes Bowker and he said he was looking though pictures taken on the Olympus Trip. I remember I’d taken a couple of trips (pardon the pun) and only taken an Olympus Trip 35 and had a few packs of negatives somewhere. That’s when it struck me, I had boxes of prints and negatives from when I’d travelled and only shot film. Decent digital cameras were expensive back then and developing, scanning at the local photoplace was still quite cheap.
I’d always written off my work from my pre-digital days for some reason. I didn’t really know what I was doing back then beyond basic composition. My Nikon SLR was set to full auto, in fact if the dial got nudged from P I’d be in a panic not even really understanding which setting I should be using. Is it A for auto? How could the pictures be any good? As I started looking through this shoe box I started finding pictures from Morocco, Turkey, France, Spain, India. I flicked through them out of interest and there were some nice pictures in there. There were a few I’d be happy if I’d taken now with my expensive Leica and Summicron in fact!
So what now? I’ve started scanning in my negatives, and there are a lot of negatives, using my neglected PlusTek and recently aquired SilverFast software. I’m still learning these two tools but getting better results all the time. Understanding the strengths and limitations of film. And I’ve started shooting film again too. I have two rolls of HP5 one ready to develop and the other in my Nikon FM2. It might take me a while to get through them but I’m back on the path to the silver side.
If you want to check some of my work out, I’ve created a new film only Instagram account, click through from below:
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