When I first bought a 5 pack of Lomography’s Lomochrome Purple XR 100-400 I wondered if the novelty might wear off after a roll or two and I fully expected to resell the rest. After a couple of rolls though, I realised there was something more to it than novelty and I couldn’t get enough. If you are shooting a false colour film whose primary effect is the conversion of green to pink/purple, it makes sense to play to its strengths and look for subjects that are mainly green. Luckily I live in the midst of the beautiful forests of Canada’s British Columbia so green is not a problem!
I have always been struck by the small details that exist throughout the forest, I’d tried to photograph them many times in black and white and colour, but I’ve never really managed to capture satisfactorily what it was I thought I saw. I hoped the surreal colour might be the missing ingredient.
I shot it all on my trusty Nikon F5 set at ISO 160 (mainly with a Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G AF-S), I’ve owned it since 2012 and even though I replaced it with an F6 late last year I’d still say it remains my favourite camera. It’s heavy no doubt, and that was what eventually prompted its replacement, but it’s a weight that inspires confidence, it has never skipped a beat in the time I’ve owned it.
I read a lot of comments before buying saying that it was a pig for batteries, but honestly, with 8 modern lithium AA’s in, it chews through roll after roll, far more than the F6 will do without the battery grip. I shoot on a tripod most often and one little feature of the F5 I’ve found useful on many occasions is the mirror lock up lever, which combined with the timer means if you forget, or lose, your cable release you’re not SOL.
I’d read once that comedy was all about the subversion of expectation, and whilst I don’t think the results are comical, I feel the idea applies here.
By rendering familiar colours, scenes, and details that may normally be overlooked, in an unexpected way, we are reminded of something of the beauty in their detail. I’m sure it’s the same philosophy that black and white photography draws on but with black and white is as ubiquitous as it is, its effect has been perhaps been lessened.
I believe that with these purple and pink tones I must be feeling what Weston did when seeing his cabbage leaf or succulent expressed in black and white for the first time. As Alan Watts wrote: “For when you climb it is the mountain as much as your own legs which lifts you upwards, and when you paint it is the brush, ink, and paper which determine the result as much as your own hand”.
Now I just need some more of it…
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