My Throwback Thursday post today isn’t really from all that far back, though it looks like it. I happened to have found a missing roll of black and white last week that I shot back on Thanksgiving 2008. It was expired when I shot it, so these two shots above were really far gone, but they still have a pretty neat look to them even with all the grain. The second shot actually came from this photo shoot Thanksgiving Photo Shoot for a Christmas Card and was shot with a Nikon F5 I no longer own. For some reason my luck with Kodak BW400CN isn’t all that great because I keep misplacing various rolls, but I love the look of film, and keep going back to film over and over. I just ordered some medium and large format film to shoot with my grandfather’s Graflex camera (a Speed Graphic) I received a few years ago, can’t wait to see how those turn out. It’s amazing to me that we can still shoot with a camera built in the 1940′s and end up with perfectly acceptable results, even when compared to current DSLR’s… well maybe I’ll wait and see what my first 4×5 looks like first.
I got back the last of my expired rolls yesterday. This time it was on the Kodak BW400 (consumer version, not professional grade) film that was also about 5 years old. The grain is pretty significant and the scans are not all that great as far as color correction goes, but then again, for 5 year old expired film, it’s not bad.
This first shot was out my front door during a tornatic rain storm we had just a few days ago. Hard to believe it was 75* with thunder, rain, wind, etc and yesterday it was below freezing. I like this particular shot, the grain of the age of the film is covered up by the image itself. The Auburn Basketball game was from last week, not 50 years ago. You can see Jeff Lebo on the sidelines among other current Auburn Basketball players.
I recently shot a few rolls with an old film camera that had a roll half exposed. As far as I can tell, the film had sat in this camera for 5 years. The time stamp on the first half of the film reads 11-12-03 so that is almost exactly 5 years to the day. Kodak GC 400 is a pretty grainy film to begin with and a consumer film that was sold mostly in Wal-Mart and other retails stores. Surprisingly the color is not all that bad. The first image was one a took a few days ago of my desk, the second is one me and my old ride. Had to be a while back, I still have some hair.
I had such a great time shooting with some photographers in Birmingham on Wednesday (Amelia Strauss, Paul Bryant, and Stephen DeVries) and I am sure DeVries could have guessed, he inspired me to look beyond my digital obsession and go back and re-examine my photographic roots in film. Of course I shot film for years and years before I picked up a digital SLR, mostly shooting Fuji Velvia 50, but since then (around 2001 when I purchased my first Nikon D100) I have taken less than a roll of film.
I dug around and found an older Nikon film camera, picked up some Kodak BW400cn film and BOOM, 35mm B&W possibilities abound. For those who already shoot a lot of 35 or 120 B&W, I would love to hear what your favorite emulsion is out there. Recommended to me was the Ilford XP2, Ilford HP5, Kodak Tri-x, and the Kodak BW400cn (shown above). I just happen to find some of the BW400cn, which is probably expired, no way to know.
Actually, I have some family background in photography (see Son of a Son of a Photographer?). My grandfather was a photographer of sorts back in the 70′s, and so was his son, my uncle (Les), so who better to ask. I contacted my uncle to see if he knew of or had any of the 120 medium format stuff laying around, and was thrilled to find out he did. Turns out he had a 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 Speed Graphic made by Graflex that my grandfather got for him when he was in sixth grade! It uses sheet film or 120 roll film (perfect) so any of you out there that love the older 120 Graflex, Rolleiflex, or Mamiya’s, looks like I could have some to post here in the coming months.
There were so many things I loved about shooting 35/120 film that I had totally forgotten what it was like to hold a roll of film in my hands. I hate that in the box thinking I trap myself into at various times, digital (for me) is one of those boxes. Thanks, Stephen.