I think it’s fair to say that 2020 hasn’t quite been the year we were all hoping for. During the first lockdown we were all stuck at home and I personally found myself with a lot more time on my hands. I decided to start shooting some photographs on film again and now I’m totally hooked! I’m no stranger to shooting on film. In fact in the RAF I used to shoot 35mm film on both Nikon F3 and Nikon F5, as well as medium format 120 film on Hasselblad. After a few years in the RAF came the birth of the digital era and Adobe Photoshop and I haven’t shot a roll on film, or set foot in a darkroom for over around 15 years! This year that all changed….
For anyone who has been to my office in North Shields, they will have seen my vintage camera collection. During the first lockdown, I decided to bring some of the cameras home and start shooting some rolls of film on them. I started off shooting on two old Kodak Box Brownie cameras from the late 1950’s. One of the cameras belonged to my wife’s Grandfather Tommy, who used to use it to capture family photographs but it hadn’t been used since the 1960’s. He was a keen photographer and videographer and always loved having the latest technology and documenting his own children and Grandchildren growing up, including my wife Sarah. I thought he would have been over the moon, to know his old camera was being used again and what better subject than my own children and two of his many Great-Grandchildren. Here are the results below:
Following the success of shooting on the old Box Brownie cameras, I decided to shoot some photographs on this cute looking Kodak Brownie Cresta II camera, from the late 1950’s. This simple plastic box camera shoots 120 film in a 6×6 format, with a fixed focus lens (likely around 75mm) with a single shutter and aperture setting of around f11 at 1/40 second. I took it along to some photoshoots that I had on and grabbed a few photos at each. Here are some of the results below:
The oldest camera in my collection is this Kodak No.2 Folding Autographic Brownie, which was made between 1915-1926. This 100 year old camera wasn’t in the best state, so I had to clean the lens and eyepiece. As well as repair a small hole in the folding bellows. However on this camera you can change the aperture by moving the bellows forwards and backwards, giving you a range of f/8, f/16, f/32, and f/64) and you can also choose a shutter speed between 1/25 sec, 1/50 sec and bulb, giving you a little more freedom with the exposures. Although it takes 120 film, you only get 8 photographs at 2¼” x 3¼, rather than the usual 12 images on most medium format cameras. Here are some of the photos taken on this beautiful old camera below:
Having had some fun with some of my old camera collection from my office, I decided I wanted to invest in a decent 35mm camera. I’ve shot on Nikon cameras since I was in the RAF and still use my Nikon D750 for most photo shoots. After lots of research on film cameras, I decided to get a Nikon FE camera and 50mm 1.8 prime lens. Ken Rockwell describes the Nikon FE as ‘one of the most flexible, most intelligently designed and most perfect cameras ever made.’. After shooting my first two rolls of 35mm film on it, I have to say I couldn’t agree more. I shot the photographs below on a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 which gives you some beautiful saturated and bold results. The second roll of film was an expired roll of Fujifilm Superia 100, that I was given by brilliant local film photographer David Hutt (Crowsnit on insta). Here are some of the results below.
This year I’ve loved seeing on my social media, some of my friends taking up painting and drawing, pushing their music and singing and just getting creative. At least 2020 has enabled some people to find the time to explore their passions again and might be one of the few positives to come out of this year.
Finally a huge thanks to Michael at Tanners Bank Darkroom for developing and scanning all of the photographs above. I can not recommend his services enough, for anyone getting back into shooting film again. This