I go to visit my family in Argentina once a year, and ever since I got into film photography I have been returning from these trips with my carry-on filled with their old and unwanted cameras, flashes, and meters. This year, my aunt (who was an avid film photographer) found a bag of expired film and gave it to me to put to good use. Never having tried expired film, I gladly accepted them.
One rainy day soon after this, my cousin offered to give me a tour of the capital and I thought it would be a great opportunity to test the film and shoot some street photos. I live in a country where taking someone’s photo without their permission can land you a hefty fine, so I decided to make the most of the liberties of Buenos Aires. I loaded the only B&W roll from the bunch, a 20-year-old Kodak T-MAX 100, since I had the chemicals to develop it at home. I picked up my trusty 1954 Leica IIIf with the Leica Elmar 5cm f/3.5 and we took to the streets.
I had to consider the sensitivity of the film: it was stored in a cool, dry basement in a plastic bag for around 20 years. The rule goes that for every decade you should overexpose by one stop; considering it was stored well, I decided to split the difference and rate it at EI 50 (one stop slower) and hope it works.
I think it did. Seeing the negatives, which were developed with ILFORD ID-11, I was fairly pleased. The grain looks grittier than expected, likely due to age, but I personally find it fitting for rainy Buenos Aires. There’s a lot of detail in the shadows, and the mid-tones are nice and gray. And while not the sharpest, my Elmar gives the photos the 50’s look that I would not trade for anything. I do find that the EI was too dark for the conditions, so my aperture was glued to f/3.5 for the whole day while I would have preferred a longer depth of field in some cases.
The weather allowed me to cultivate the themes of anonymity and the mundane throughout the roll: covered faces, hidden movements, and the bleak bustle of a rainy commute all add to the idea that these moments are just tears in rain.
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we see how this historic camera is capable of the best in good hands
Beautiful images and excellent results with the expired film. Love the Bladerunner reference, too ; )
Thank you so much! I thought the quote was fitting for the atmosphere, glad you got it
hermosas fotos de Buenos Aires, Simón! Parecen salidas de algun diario de los de antes. Te luciste con el rollo vencido 👏👏👏 un abrazo
Muchísimas gracias!! Buenos Aires tiene una arquitectura increíble 🙂
These are great. Worked out really well.