Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Film Photography: Some Experimentation

In film photography there's a group of people who are dedicated to using cheaply produced, featureless plastic toy cameras from Hong Kong. The cameras are awful but that's why people love them. The cheap lens, light leaks and dodgy mechanics means that the resulting photos are often imbued with enigmatic and mysterious qualities. Admittedly, it's a slightly contrived experience, and many would argue the cameras have been 'reclaimed' for the wrong reasons, but the results are always interesting. I have a soft spot for all things artsy fartsy and weird, so I had to try it out for myself. 

I tried to use the limited functions of the camera as much as I could within a single roll of film, with very mixed results as expected. You get a choice of one aperture (supposedly two but a mechanical glitch means it doesn't actually change size),  only two shutter speeds - one of which is Bulb - and some very basic focal adjustments which can't even be seen in the viewfinder!

Most of the photos were a disaster - overexposed, underexposed, blurry, double exposures which didn't line up despite my best efforts and instances where I'd forgotten to take off the lens cap. In short, all sorts of amateur abnormalities and errors which ruined some otherwise interesting images. As I've found out in my early experiences of 35mm photography, you live and learn. Just load a new film and try not to make the same mistakes again. 

A few did develop with all the 'qualities' I was hoping for. Bear in mind I haven't used Photoshop or any post-production to alter these images beyond the standard adjusting of contrast and gamma after scanning. All the peculiar colours, transparencies and vignetting come straight off the negative.