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

Bukit Brown Cemetery – Singapore

Bukit Brown Cemetery - Singapore
Bukit Brown Cemetery - Singapore

Yesterday, we finally went to the Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery, here in Singapore. A motorway will be built through it so a lot of tombs will be destroyed. This is causing quite a stir here as a lot of the founders of Singapore are buried in this place. It’s easy to get a cab and go there in 20 minutes from the city center. The place is buried in a forest, we even spotted a monkey.

My son Noé, now 9, shot this with his brand new Nikon coolpix 7100; as you can see on the left hand side I brought the hassie and shot 3 rolls : one Ektar, one Portra and one Elitechrome, results next week. Ah yeah I also brought the new(second hand) Olympus mju1 to finish the test film. (Noé managed to broke the old one, and I found one for 60Eur by compete chance shouting at me from the shop “buy me, buy me”).

On the Coolpix 7100: I chose this camera for my son because it has a viewfinder and offers a certain (very high) number of controls. I hesitated a long time with the Canon G12, the G12 seems better build in my opinion but finally I prefer the images produced by the Nikon. We did not use it a lot, but we are not disappointed with it so far. I would only say that that the viewfinder is not great and may not get so much use in the end of the day. Kids also have a tendency to play with controls and forget to reset them to a reasonable default so it’s better checking the settings before using the camera.

Bukit Brown Cemetery – Singapore

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