Well, I just read this “My First Roll…” post by EM and immediately started scratching my head. How did I start in analog photography and photography on the whole? It was not so long ago (relatively, Einstein would say) but I’d absolutely forgotten exactly how I had begun and it took some time to repair the chronology and piece together the chain of my journey.
I’m happy to be able to share it with you today.
It all started in 2005. That was the first time I held a camera in my hands with the goal to take photographs and not to simply capture something for family history. The camera was digital — too stupid in its possibilities — and it actually wasn’t mine but my brother’s.
During my first years of trying digital photography, I always dreamt to make these grainy, dirty and moody images. Ones that looked like moments from our memories but I was too far from real film photography to do so. I managed to edit my own photographs with Photoshop — I’ve already forgotten how to use it, but once I was not bad in my experiments with layers — I tried to create this look and sometimes people even were confused with the kind of media I used for my photographs.
The first film camera I got was a gift from my brother’s co-worker — thanks to my brother again. It was a legendary Pentax Spotmatic F in very good condition externally, but with a partially damaged mechanism that sometimes locked up the mirror. I released this only in the middle of my first roll of film and I don’t exactly remember how I got it working again.
The film was Kodak ProFoto 400 BW. A C-41 black and white film, which was developed in a local laboratory. I was too far from every piece of information and knowledge about analog photography and at the time had no idea what C-41 meant or how chromogenic film was different to traditional black and white.
I got this camera with the beautiful – I think the most beautiful lens I have used in my life – the crazy Asahi Pentax Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 Model I, not the SMC version. Later I used it on my Canon 5D MKII for freelensing photography but that’s definitely another story.
Half of the frames on this first roll turned out either just black or very smeared due to the problematic shutter/mirror, but I recently scanned the frames you see below, which look more or less nice – the negatives were full of small and large white spots/dots plus long strips (scratches/spots) stretching along with the whole roll.
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I waited a long week for the results and when I got the negatives back, I was a little disappointed with what I saw – even without having scanned them back then – I still had no scanner at the time but this is part of another story.
After this first roll, I decided not to give up and got some rolls of Fuji Provia 100F (RDP III) – another favorite film these days, absolutely unappreciated then, because again it was not scanned due to a few problem frames. Until now, these early rolls were forgotten forever.
After my first three or four first rolls, I got myself my first medium format camera — a plastic fantastic Holga beauty — and started burning rolls of film with a much larger frame size. It might surprise you that I was somehow was disappointed again, time the reason was the poor quality of the plastic optics.
Hehe, I just wanted to have Hasselblad, but as with the scanner and freelancing, that is a story for another time…
Thanks for reading.
Want to share your first roll or sheet of film?
Poorly exposed, badly framed and blurry photos? No-one is perfect, especially when shooting their first roll of film...but that's ok and I'd like to spread that message. Submit as many frames from your first roll as you're able to with an accompanying text of at least 500 words using this Google form. If you would prefer to submit another way, please use the contact link at the top of the page.
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