While rummaging for some #ThrowbackThursday images to Instagram I noted several rolls of unmarked, processed 35mm film I had set aside in 2012 and all but forgotten about until early 2015. Holding the negatives to light I instantly recalled the moments I took with my Holga but was surprised by the images I had waited to see once they hit the scanner.
If the above image of the zigzag shadow on concrete stairs looks familiar, there was a megapixelized version of it posted years back as a Previously Unpublished entry. I had forgotten I made a Holga film exposure of the abstract detail as well.
After picking up a shiny new 6-megapixel digital SLR in 2004 I found myself using less film. Make that near no film at all. I had done my homework, invested in a camera brand / system that offered lenses compatible with my 35mm film equipment as well as the newest digital camera bodies. Experimenting in digital photography was effortless, the results instantaneous. This was a huge boost to my already inquisitive imagination as far as tinkering with ideas, reflections, abstracts go, and made learning manual exposure techniques far, far easier when the results could be previewed on an LCD screen.
This yellow fellow was photographed with slide film for a color photography class study in cross processing. As with so much of my film photography, it sat in boxes & binders… until now.
Between the bokeh of a very unfocused background and the colors of the alternative film processing I ended up with an almost watercolor paint blur of shades behind the flower.
Next time you fire up Instagram, know the odd filters packed in the app have… (dandelion pun!) roots… in old-fashioned film photography.
My late teens and early twenties were a blur of travels and my blurry film photography thereof. In 1998 I found myself visiting Beijing, China. I flipped through the photo album last week, searching for some previously unpublished image to upload, and found this photo tucked away, almost forgotten.
It comes from a time when I did not -invariably could not– simply dial up the ISO sensitivity for low light evening photography. If I wanted a black and white photo of a moment, I shot black and white film. I have both color and black & white images of these dancers. I carefully rewound my last roll of color negative film, marked the canister to remind me how many frames I had used, and loaded a roll of higher sensitivity black & white film, advancing beyond the frame last shot used before composing and adjusting settings for a new image. It was an undertaking.
Now a decade and a half later I had to stop and think where I saw these dancers when I paused and decided to shoot the moment both in color then reload for this monochrome image. No metadata, no GPS tag accompanies the image. Unless I noted in my journal that I had observed this performance the handful of frames I photographed is all the detail and memory of it left.
That, perhaps, is what draws me to share this image most from my first travels in Beijing – the faintness of my own recollection. I had the determination to spend some of my limited 35mm film supply to record the moment, persistence to unload one type and reload a different film, yet today remember nothing aside from the prints in the album.
My photos show it was a hazy, late summer evening when this was taken outdoors. Adults in modern dress danced under the incandescent glow of the bulbs outlining the rooftop behind them. Some of the dancers are blurs of movement, rapid steps and turns caught mid-stride.
It haunts me. A mix of dreamy haze and already nostalgic black and white travel scenery only adds to my minuscule mystery trying to recall the moment I took this photograph. Perhaps it’s good fortune to have forgotten so much surrounding the minutes of my late teens when this view crossed my camera’s viewfinder, if just to see it years later and spark my curiosity. -eB
Happy accidents were a major part of my early film photography adventures. Using manual-focus and manual exposure 35mm SLR (single lens reflex) cameras and lenses in changing lighting conditions, focus, and a 15-year-old’s attention span resulted in more than a few unfocused, under- or over-exposed, or otherwise just “off” frames of film. Hours, days, sometimes weeks later I would see these slices of 35mm once they had been processed & printed on paper. I remember tinkering with the shutter speed dial when taking this photo, guessing my way through the first few rolls of drugstore special 35mm film before I found a manual to the Olympus OM-10 camera. I’m lucky this roll was even loaded correctly; my first attempt never caught the take up spool and 36 frames of memories were exposed one atop the next, amounting to a disappointing wait to see that I had a lot to learn about these cameras before even taking a usable photo.
This image came back badly-exposed, printed with the hopes of salvaging an image from the ill-exposed negative. And it became a favorite print, a reminder that my earliest enjoyment of photography wasn’t about technically perfect image creation, but the enjoyment of the hobby.
Go create some fun today. -eB
Image © copyright Eric Bucholtz 2000, all rights
I shot this on an exceptionally photogenic day in Sweden, a day that started out with everything outside covered with frozen fog frost. While visiting the capitol city with my flatmate and Finn friends the sky that was perfectly clear blue in the morning had incredible clouds at dusk.
I didn’t have very fast film, a fast lens, or a lot of light for sharp hand-held photos and didn’t take a tripod with me. I did what my years of shooting cheap and watching MacGuyver taught me: improvise. I had in my backpack a hacky sack beanbag for the occasional time wasting fun and makeshift camera stabilizer. (Dual purpose travel accessories are great space savers!) With the camera strap over my neck I balanced the camera on top of the beanbag on a bridge railing and composed this shot.
Minolta Maxxum 7000i, 35-105mm lens, Fuji cheap stuff ISO400.
Previously unpublished film photo copyright © 2001 Eric Bucholtz, eB Photography. Saint Augustine, Florida
While meandering Saint Augustine, Florida during my time at port near Jacksonville, the lines and shadows from a balcony with sun high overhead caught my attention. I had a roll of C41 color-process black and white 35mm film in one camera and snapped away.
Previously unpublished photo from Khon Kaen, Thailand night market, February 28, 2002. © Eric Bucholtz, all rights reserved. Minolta X-370 35mm body, 50mm f/1.7 lens, Fuji cheap bulk pack film ISO800.
Previously unpublished 35mm film print from Bluefields, Nicaragua, December 2001.
Woke up with a laugh at the first dream of the new year – I was shooting 35mm film with my first SLR camera, the Minolta X-370. Nerd alert. Manual focus, manual exposure, thumb lever winder style. Vaguely remember I was shooting some outdoor wedding stuff and keeping up with the action just fine winding after each shot.
I’ll take that as a sign and shoot some film today, see what a little suspense to see the photo can do again.
Go have fun with whatever camera you can find!