I am no photographer. Well, not in any meaningful sense of the word anyways. I have neither formal training nor professional experience in the practice. Yet despite this, film photography is now a passion, a mode of expression, and a way of seeing the world which I hold dear.

Like many other amateurs (I use this term with both pride and affection), my journey into the world of film photography begins with an old camera stashed in a cupboard. While writing my master’s thesis I joined a research group that aimed to explore creative and esoteric modes of ethnographic (the study of culture) research. A fellow researcher and I became interested in the concept of phantoms, light, and the non-visible spectrum, and stumbled upon images produced with Kodak’s AEROCHROME. We were stunned by the images and scoured all channels available to us to try and shoot it. Limited by time and budget however, we never did.


Even though my Kodak AEROCHROME dreams have still to be fulfilled, this magical film was what led me to now always having a camera dangling from my shoulder. This is why the first “expensiv” film I shot was Lomography’s Lomochrome Purple XR.

During my search for Aerochrome I found Lomography’s Purple XR as a potential alternative, but ultimately shelved it at it was a visible-light film. When I finally saw a box at my local shop, I was terrified of it, at near double the price of anything I had shot before, it stayed in my fridge for months. Finally, deep into the pandemic summer, amidst all the strangeness I swallowed my pride, loaded my trusty Nikon FE and set out into the city.

When I got my scans from my local lab I was stunned. The rich purples, the surreal landscapes, the very real sense of bizarreness that this wonderful emulsion captured. Suffice to say that no other film had so well captured the confusion, melancholy, and absurdity that the summer of 2020 had offered me.

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I have not shot the film since. Summer has come and gone, and plenty of strangeness remains. Somehow, I cannot bring myself to shoot this magical film again. What if it does not live up to my memories? What if that strangeness just is not there anymore? Even if I never shoot Lomochrome Purple XR again, I remain grateful to this unique and special film, for inspiring a passion and an altogether different way of seeing the world.

~ Mathieu

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Mathieu Lamontagne-Cumiford

Anthropologist, aspiring photographer, amateur poet, and liar. Interested in the image as a fragment of time, and an expression of that which makes us fundamentally human, the story. You may find me cruising...

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1 Comment

 

  1. Your story lives up to the expectations you aroused in your intro paragraph. The pictures are wonderfully weird and lovely all at once. It would be great to read more of your stories somewhere, sometime. Maybe post some on Twitter? Thanks for posting.