What an amazing way to visualise the world. I have pursued the joys and wonders of film photography and darkroom work for some decades now and within this journey find it not only therapeutic but fascinating when I can try new film emulsions, chemistry or papers (really liking ILFORD’S new RC MG V).
Thanks to permission from my wife some time ago, I was able to secure a few rolls of this very precious film to work with Kodak’s color infrared slide film: AEROCHROME.
According to my understanding, Kodak was the maker of colour infrared transparency film and it was designed sometime in the 1940s to assist in air photo analysis and identification of camouflaged targets. I think it was also adopted by forestry as a way of identifying the health status of trees in a forest.
Unfortunately, Kodak discontinued this film from their offerings in 2011, so when the few hundred existing rolls are gone … it will become a memory just like Kodachrome or Verichrome Pan – two other wonderful emulsions I’ve had the pleasure to work with, although the Verichrome was quite outdated.
Keeping my AEROCHROME film in the freezer, I carefully contemplated over time how I would like to use them – a previsualisation of sorts. In other words, because of its scarcity, and the fact that I may not get another chance to work with this film, I was very careful in determining the type of environment I visualised using it in.
I had used some of the film to photograph the rich vegetation found in Golden Ears Provincial Park, which is about 40 minutes from Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada and got some really nice results. But for my very last roll, I saved this for a much needed trip home to the prairies of Saskatchewan. It has been a real passion of mine to photographically document different aspects of the rural landscape as it has and continues to change.
Once thriving towns have dwindled into hamlets or even ghost towns. Therefore, along with the other emulsions I was working with, I wanted to dedicate this last roll of a discontinued film to the discontinuing rural way of life. I thought of using the film in my Mamiya 645 Pro TL, which would give me more images per roll, but decided to stick with what I’ve used before: my Mamiya C330 Professional S camera and a new #15 yellow filter as well as my 55mm lens (my favourite on this system).
Now that I’m home and have started developing all my E6 and Black & White film … I have some wonderful memories to look back on, which in this time of pandemic can be quite therapeutic.
Thank You for your time,
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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