Kodak Yellow

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My love affair with Kodak film has been going strong for years. My mother generously gave me her Olympus OM-G 35mm SLR in my first year of college, patiently taught me how to use the manually attached flash, how to load film, how to change it, and then let me figure out everything else.

This was back in the day, y’all. This was back when film was still fairly abundant (back in 2009!), when Target carried Kodak film with instant cameras and batteries, back when you could still go to CVS and find dusty boxes of almost-expired drugstore brand film and quietly ask if you could get it discounted because it was almost about to be no good. Gah, the good old days! (Yes, I am sitting on a front porch yelling at kids to get off my lawn as I type this.) You could still get 35mm film developed at CVS, Costco, Walmart, Target, Walgreens…wherever! Nowadays, most drugstores don’t bother, as when their developing machines broke I believe it became policy for the corporations to not repair them any more…

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…Anyway, to this day, despite the changes in photography culture, the goldenrod hues of Kodak roll film always quietly whisper promises of beautiful colors, of lush reds and rich skin tones. Kodak 400 speed film has always my preferred film, and my grandfather always favored Kodak over Fujifilm, saying that Fujifilm was far too focused on the green and blue tones of things (which is still true- I buy a lot of Fujifilm because it is cheaper than Kodak but the tones are very different).

So, when I learned that Opening Ceremony had done a small capsule collection with Kodak, I freaked out. Yes, it came out in Fall 2015. Yes, it was for men. Nonetheless, when I found out, I immediately went and looked. Did I want the gorgeous leather jacket that cost something like $500? Oh yes, yes. However, on my budget all I could justify was buying the OC hat I wear in some of these pictures. It was a Christmas gift to myself, and if that sounds silly it’s because it really is. This hat has the gorgeous colors of Kodak film, along with the timeless logo, and it’s a loud little beanie (tuque if you’re in Canada, which I am, which I can still never call a hat like this a tuque).

Paired with this goldenrod shirt and my omnipresent Dr. Marten boots, I feel a little intimidating and a little nostalgic, and that’s quite alright with me. I got to see a lot of crows this morning and some ducks and get rained on a little bit, and all of that was just fine, too. Now, back to writing the introduction to my thesis!

P.S. I picked up a funky little film camera for $8 at a thrift shop that has a pretty decent reputation and so I’m trying to run some film through it! Stay tuned for scans sometime this week! There will be cat pictures.

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RIP another Kodak film and other stories.

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Images from 2011. I used to make so many more photographs than I do now, and I want to rectify this wrong and begin making images with the recklessness I used to. There are benefits to being very cerebral about photography but often my favorite images were made at the moment- organic, spontaneous, serendipitous moments. I treasure those the most.

These were made using Kodak’s Profession BW400 Black and White Negative Film. It’s black and white film that can supposedly go through C-41 developer, which is for color. It’s not truly black and white, as you can tell. I’ve had sepia frames, some bordering on blue, others more purple, but it’s honestly so fun to see the hues and tones that this odd film gains in the developer. Guess what I found out this morning?! Apparently Kodak stopped making it in 2014! My heart gave a small twinge as I learned this. 5844433096_b56fa08112_b6066507859_effee73b87_b6066984108_77b034f8b8_b

So, rest in peace you delightful, fun film that I used 20 or 30 rolls of in my lifetime. You gave my photos delightful tones and added some drama to my small hometown summers. Kodak, stop killing my film options!

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My first foray into medium format!!

Using a 70 year old camera, I brought a few rolls of 120 film and ventured with the red girls around Los Angeles with Ektar 100. It was my first time actually shooting with this camera and trying to correctly load 120 film (which was surprisingly easy)!

I loved imagining how they’d turn out! The square format is really lovely, a great change from the rectangular format of 35mm, and the negatives were awesome to look at!

I don’t have a photo scanner and the labs are only for photography students but Chris did a patient, lovely job of scanning my film in with me. (A lot of my frames were actually heinous. Like, really bad. I might make a bad photo post).

Now they’re here! I’m in love! I’m so excited to keep shooting with my old ancient camera and experiment more with 120mm film!

The wide angles. And cheese.

 

A few months ago my friend Julia’s parents approached me, asking me if I wanted a few old Olympus OM series lenses, as a photographer relative of theirs left them a number of them. They had old Canon SLRs and bodies, but no Olympus body, and kindly gave me five beautiful lenses!

Two wide angle lenses, a shift lens, an enormous zoom lens, and a basic zoom lens later, I was stuck trying to figure out which was my favorite!

I find myself using the Tamron 17mm wide-angle lens a lot, because:

a) It looks awesome on the Olympus body- a lot more legitimate than my usual 50mm f/1.8

b) It is supremely wide-angle and warps everything.

However, the focusing is rather tricky, and I find myself taking quite a while until I finish a roll of film with that lens.

I really like photographing orderly thinks like grocery store aisles, and with the wide-angle lens I have a lot of fun doing that. As you can tell by my photograph of the cheese section of a local convenience store.

Mmmm, cheese.

Camera Repair: 1954 Brownie Bull’s-Eye

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours doing not-very-orthodox Thanksgiving things, like trying to fix the lenses on my little Bull’s-Eye.

I picked it up along with a Kodak Instamatic 50 and an Argus Argoflex Seventy-Five for $15 at a local garage sale- only to find that somehow, along it’s looonnnggg life span, the Bull’s-Eye got submerged or was in a very humid place- there was white fungus in the lenses and around them.

My grandfather loaned me two screw drivers and some lens cleaner, and I set out disassembling the small camera. It came apart easily, and I quickly discovered how cool the inside of the camera looked. I took of the face plate, the back, and several layers of metal- only removing about six screws. We popped off the rubber lens-holder (terminology is not really great, sorry!) and got the two lenses apart. After cleaning them carefully with q-tips and lens cleaner, we put everything back together, all without a hitch!

Now the Bull’s-Eye is actually usuable! It even came with the Midget flash, and some unused Sylvania M-3 flash bulbs, so I am all set to begin using it!

P.S.: I don’t use 620 film- mostly because it’s rare and WAY too expensive when you can find it. What I do instead is grind down a regular 120 mm spool with a metal file and clip it on the edges with a nail clipper until it fits just like a regular 620 spool- it’s effortless and super easy to do. You can definitely do it yourself- don’t buy the $10.99 re-spooled film you find on eBay, you can do it yourself so easily it’s not worth it.