When the archives are floating back

Browsing through my storage room ahead of my move to London, I went through my boxes of old pictures and binned most of the prints, but naively kept negatives, probably something like 20 to 30 rolls that were never scanned and spent most of the past twenty years in storage.

1993 Dereliction – Brussels

I really like browsing through old pictures because that’s why we take them in the first place right? Being able to watch them later. Most of the rolls were shot between 1992 and 2001, between my arrival in Brussels and my first digital camera.

What do you see when you look at old pictures? Well ok in this case what I saw first that the negatives, the Kodak Gold mostly, were pretty deteriorated and got yellow stains that wont go away.

1993 Chez Guillaume Villers sur Mer

Beyond this, with nearly 30 years of decantation, not many picture pass the bar of being shareable. I smiled at my old self, look thoughtfully at departed family members and lost friends. It is more walk down memory lane than an art exhibition. But a lot of pictures are frankly crap, and there are always lessons to take from this. The saddest thing is all those scenes which are not shot correctly and for which I only took one shot. Maybe an extra shot or a third and the memory would have been golden. My lesson here is to try to concentrate and if you can’t well at least try to multiply the chances.

1993 – Amsterdam style wedding

In 1993 I already bought my Nikon F3 with a 35-70F3.5 zoom, and offered my wife an Olympus mju-1, I think most of the shots here are done with the Olympus. 10 years before digital cameras hit the consumer market, I loved this point and shoot. When I arrived in Brussels my area of the city was quite derelicted and I was looking for a camera that would enable me to shoot pictures like the first one : abandoned houses viewed through a crack in a door or an opened window, showing the unseen, the essence of photography. Well ok, film was expensive back then so I did not overuse it…

1993 – Barcelona

Years before I learned the term street photography I was attracted to random stanger…

1993 – JF in Brussels

By then friends also had film cameras and there was no Facebook, so most of the time you never saw the pictures they took of you.

Hope you enjoyed this small reading, back form the time where film cameras where cameras, full stop.

More to follow…

Scanned with Epson v800, small correction in Lightroom

When the archives are floating back

The first Zorki Film

If you missed the last episode, I bought a Zorki S for 40EUR in an antique shop and it turned out there are some quite obvious problems with it. Two days later, I tempted my luck with a 6 years expired Kodak Gold film. I shot the film on the way to work, using hyper-focal focusing because the range finder does not work, and I missed one shot out of 5 as the curtains of the shutter stay stuck most of the time. Meanwhile the mini-lab broke down so I had to wait two extra days to be able to have a look at this masterpiece.

As expected, one picture in 5 to 6 turned out ok in term of exposure and the 4 below are the best of the lot. It’s very difficult to guess for the rest because of the very bad quality of the film (or because of it’s high artistic quality). Well that will need another try.

In between I have lubricated the shutter by dropping some silicon lubricant on the shutter button and it seems that by firing 20 shots a day the shutter no longer get stuck: good news. Also a gentle fellow user gave me some information on the rangefinder issue so I may run a second roll very soon. Probably an unexpired B&W film.

Graph at the sate park

Appart from trying the Zorki out, I liked this mural very much down in the Summerset skate park; it changes from the usual things we see there. Hope I can shot it with a proper camera before its gone.

Graph at the sate park

Ice cream stall

Signs

Camera:Zorki-S
Lens:Industar 22 50mm F3.5
Film:Kodak Gold 100ASA expired 2006
DigiFilm:Epsonv500, LightroomV3.6

The first Zorki Film

Caffenol – First test

Caffenol no1
Caffenol no1

This week the holidays are starting, so I found a new project: trying Caffenol film development.

Actually it was the first roll I ever processed. Prior to the holidays I have ordered a Paterson tank and some Fomapan Fixator.

I used the stand recipie by Lukaz (http://lukaz-photo.com/archives/400) with Saint-Marc soda wash (Common brand in France). I stick to the recipie so I did not shake the film during the process appart from at the start of each 30 minutes cycles.

The film is a Kodak Gold 200 and I used Fomafix fixator (7 minutes fixing).

I was quite pleased to be able to go through the whole process without hassles. Including opening the 35mm canister with a bottle opener and loading the film of the automatic reel.

However my negative is very thick, I can hardly see through but still can guess the images. Apparently this is because I used a color film; so I started from the wrong end! Well I’ll start again with a B&W film soon, I still have a few days of holidays left.

DIY scan, at my parent’s house I have no film scanner; I used their flatbed scanner and set a small torch light through a white plastic sheet as a back light in order to scan the thick film.

So I promise I will scan the film again when I am back home.

Oh yeah, the picture taken with my son’s Olympus mju1, is my colleague Oliver in the elevator of the office.

Camera: Olympus Mju1
Film: Kodak Gold 200
Processing: Cafenol
Scanning: HP flatbed scanner, Gimp processing

Caffenol – First test