Around mid-2018, after seven years of shooting digital, I decided to put the digital camera down for a little while as I experimented with learning and shooting film for my personal work. I have been photographing the streets of Birmingham UK for several years, but had never shot film before, so this seemed like a good place to start.
I enjoy shooting day and night throughout the year, but if you want to shoot colour film in the evening, white balance and film speed can sometimes be an issue. Cinestill 800T is a slightly more expensive film than I’m used to, but I adore it’s cinematic rendering, speed and tungsten balancing. It’s basically Kodak VISION3 motion picture film, minus the remjet layer that has been mechanically removed. This gives the film some really interesting characteristics, and naturally, it possesses that cinematic feel which is probably why I keep buying multiple rolls of it.
These five images, all captured in Birmingham UK, are a mix of tripod and handheld shooting around the city. They were created with a Rolleiflex 2.8F (Carl Zeiss 80mm f/2.8 Planar version), purchased from an older gentleman who reluctantly sold it to me due to his diminishing eyesight.
He told me a fascinating story about how this camera was previously owned by a retired officer in the Merchant Navy. The officer, who has now unfortunately passed away, purchased it brand new in Hong Kong a very, very long time ago. I was told that it was his pride and joy and it accompanied him around the world. He used it right up until his retirement around the late ’90s, which was when he put it away for the last time in his photographic hold all.
Inspired by the history, I’m now trying to give this camera a new life by creating new work with it. Some may consider a fixed focal length a negative point, however, I’m a believer that limitations always present you with an opportunity to get more creative, and you just end up ‘making it work’ or moving on (also, less gear means extra room for more 120 film).
Cinestill 800T is a bit of a dream film for me and I generally shoot it at EI 400 to give me the results I want. As of yet, I don’t develop my own colour film at home, as I’m easing myself into black and white film to start with. All of my colour film is developed by AG Photographic in Birmingham and the team there do a wonderful job. I’m sure I’ll have some more rolls of Cinestill to send them very soon.
Thanks for reading,
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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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