What follows is my 2019 in film photography, a 365 photography project that was absolutely not a 365 project. In this article, I share the results from 115 of the sheets/rolls of film I shot in 2019. It boils down to over one hundred photographs taken by yours truly, all wrapped up in a couple of thousand words which may or may not make sense.
There are a few reasons I’m doing this:
Time and lack thereof to post my photography: I write and publish a lot of content here on EMULSIVE – ~400 articles last year – and one of the casualties of this growth has been a lack of time to get my own photography out there.
Retro-what? As some of you might know, I exhaustively document my photographic archive: film, camera, lens, EI, development notes, etc., but aside from a few quick looks back here and there, I’ve not really sat down to review, interpret or digest my own work in this manner before. I’ll tell you upfront that putting this article together has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I highly recommend you carve out a few hours to do the same yourself.
Sharing is caring: I talk a lot about knowledge sharing and transfer in our community and well, this seems to fit the bill pretty well.
Here’s how the article breaks down:
Table of contents
- 1 2018 was not a good year
- 2 My year in pictures
- 3 2019’s large format film
- 4 Stats, stats, stats
- 5 Taking lessons from 2019 into 2020 and beyond
2018 was not a good year
I came into 2019 after a photographically “bad” 2018. I lost my mojo more than once and the process of taking photographs seemed void of personal meaning or progress. Much of this was due to general malaise and an almost 100% record of photographic plans falling through at the last minute throughout the year.
Generally speaking, I’m the kind of person who, if I see a particular approach not working (or not working as well as expected), will change it and come at my objective from a different angle. Repeat ad infinitum. Considering that making photographic plans was such a failure for me in 2018, for 2019, I resolved to do something different: NOTHING
Well, not literally nothing, per se – I’d obviously still be out there with a camera as usual – it was more the idea that I would go with the flow and just shoot instead of setting expectations or goals and iterating my approach to try and achieve them.
THAT was my 365 project and you know what? It worked.
If you’re reading this and don’t know what a 365 photography project is, don’t worry about it. They typically revolve around the theme of shooting a photograph every single day for a year.
Most of those In the film community are general (just shoot). Others might stick to a particular film stock or camera, specific subjects or other goals/restrictions.
It wasn’t always easy to stick to the idea of going with the flow given the amazing photography being posted on social media and my desire to try my hand at it. Still, I kept my head clear for the most part and shot what came into my viewfinder.
In total, I shot ~145 rolls of 120 and 35mm format film in 2019, along with around 40 sheets of 4×5. Of the 120 and 35mm film, I’m able to share photographs from 110 of them. Film, it seems, does not slow me down.
I’ve broken this article down into three sections: a set of photo galleries by month, some stats and final thoughts/takeaways. Each gallery has a single frame from every 120 or 35mm roll of film I shot in 2019. As my motivation for large format photography is a little different to that with smaller formats (methodical and planned vs opportunistic), I’ve dropped a sampling of my 4×5 photography under the monthly galleries.
My year in pictures
You can click/tap on the gallery images below to view them full-screen. With a gallery open, just move left or right to cycle through the images.
January 2019: 16 rolls
It was a great start to the year. I shot 16 rolls in January, with a 25/75 even split between medium format and 35mm film respectively. January also saw my first steps into wide-format 35mm photography due to a new-to-me Fuji GW690III rangefinder, which I call the TEXPan (Texas Leica + XPan, get it). Anyway, along with some further developments throughout the year, it helped take me on a little journey that’s still not quite finished.
The 16 rolls in included the following film stocks:
- Kodak VISION3 500T (5219)
- Lomography Berlin 400
- Kodak Portra 160
- Lomography Color Negative 400
- ILFORD Pan 100
- ILFORD FP4 PLUS
- ILFORD HP5 PLUS
- Santa RAE 1000
- Fujifilm FUJICOLOR Superia X-TRA 400
- Kodak Portra 160NC (non-perf)
- Fujifilm NEOPAN 400.
My favourite image of the month? It’s a tie. First, is the first frame in the gallery (the mural of the Japanese chap). Second would be frame 10, which looks into someone’s home from the street. The object hanging in space is an incense holder, which was lit perfectly by the ray of light you see reflected on the window to the left of the frame.
February 2019: 4 rolls
Things got busy on the day job front in February but I was able to get out a couple of times to shoot. Three of the four rolls represented below were shot on the same outing. I was still trying to shoot 35mm film but of the three rolls I started, none got finished.
I was mostly going through the motions this month and although there are some great BW IR frames to share later this year, the AEROCHROME shot, Pads, was my favourite.
March 2019: 13 rolls
March saw me messing around with diopter filters for close-up photography (the final frame below), split diopters for freaky “infinite depth of field” experiments (not pictured) and a dive into photography with anamorphic lenses.
Stepping into the world of anamorphic photography has been a rabbit hole of both fun and frustration. Small calibration issues – like not mounting the lens perfectly – can lead to incredibly strange effects but as frustrating as they were, I learned more about making motion pictures this month than at any other point in my life.
I hope to write a bit more about my journey and use of anamorphic lenses in 2020. If I drag my heels, please give me a kick up the backside.
12 of the 13 rolls I shot were different stocks, with black and white negative film dominating. Those 12 were:
- Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS
- Fujifilm NEOPAN 400
- Lomography Color Negative 800
- Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400, Lomography Color Negative 100
- Ultrafine Xtreme 400
- Bergger BRF-400
- Bergger Pancro 400
- Kosmo Foto Mono 100
- Kodak Eastman Double-X (5222)
- Kodak Pro Image 100
- Fujifilm FUJICOLOR Pro 400H.
I had so much fun shooting this month that it’s hard to pick just one (or even three frames) as my favourites. Those that stand out? Certainly, the frame of the Buddhist monk holding a standing bell and small striker, any of the panoramic frames and bloodied butcher gloves.
You’ll probably notice focus issues with some of the wide-format frames above, especially with the 120 format shot 6th from the bottom. Focusing with anamorphics is hard if you don’t know what you’re doing (I didn’t).
Using anamorphic lenses requires a “double-focus” for most setups. In use, that translates to focusing once on the “taking lens” mounted to your camera and then fine-tuning focus on the anamorphic lens, which is mounted to the taking lens. It takes some trial and error when you’re starting from scratch, as I was. There are single focus options, which I won’t get into here. Needless to say, I don’t have one yet.
The bottom line for me is that all this tinkering and tweaking was worth it in the end and getting a 1:3 aspect ratio on 35mm film (1:2 on 120) was totally worth the hours spent in frustration.
April 2019: 0 rolls
Zero, zip, nada, zilch. April was a complete bust but I’m ok with that. I had three cameras loaded with film and finished none of them. On the bright side, I managed to get quite a bit of developing, scanning and archiving done.
May 2019: 18 rolls
May was fantastic, I messed around with close focus, geometric composition and some (to me), non-traditional framing for the 6×6 square format. I shot three rolls of AEROCHROME and tried my hand at the Zenit Horizon S3 Pro aka the Horizon Perfekt.
The film stocks I shot this month were CatLABS X FILM 80, ILFORD HP5 PLUS, ILFORD HP5 PLUS, Kodak EKTACHROME E100VS, Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS, ILFORD HP5 PLUS, Kodak AEROCHROME III Infrared Film (1443), Kodak EKTACHROME E100VS, JCH Streetpan 400, ILFORD Delta 400 Professional, ILFORD SFX 200, Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Portra 160, Kodak Portra 800 and Kodak Ektar 100.
Again, it’s a tough call to pick my favourite of the month. both AEROCHROME shots for different reasons, the bike leaning on the wall, about to be consumed by hard shadow and the man holding a cigarette all do it for me, but don’t hold me to that, my choices change every time I look at them all.
June 2019: 4 rolls
After May’s heady photography, I came back to Earth with a bit of a bump. I wanted to focus on nailing my anamorphic setup, which went pretty well, I think.
The four rolls were Kodak Ektar 100, CatLABS X FILM 80, Kodak EKTACHROME E100VS and Kodak T-MAX 100. and the mossy wall frame on CatLABS’ new X Film rocks my little world. The entire roll was full of some fantastically contrasty and detailed images.
July 2019: 8 rolls
Back to opportunistic photography in July, with some experiments in low-light. In fact, the fourth frame of the girl asleep on her fathers shoulder is probably my favourite image of the month.
I also took some time out to shoot the latest version of Lomography’s Lomochrome Purple against their version 1 and 2. I know I’ve still yet to publish the results. I’ll get there, promise.
Film stocks I shot this month were Lomography Purple XR 100-400 v1, v2 and 2019’s v3, ILFORD XP2 Super, Kodak Hawkeye Traffic Surveillance Black and White Film 2485, Silberra Color 100, Lomography Potsdam Kino 100 and Shanghai GP3 100.
August 2019: 11 rolls
More close-up photography this month. It was also in August that I crowned my Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D my favourite lens of the year. To say that it had been glued to my cameras by this point is an understatement (as my takeaway thoughts below demonstrate).
This month’s rolls were Lomography Color Negative 800, Fujifilm FUJICOLOR C200, Kodak Portra 400, Lomography Color Negative 800, Lomography Purple XR 100-400 v3, JCH Streetpan 400, Fujifilm NEOPAN 400, ILFORD Delta 100 Professional and Shanghai GP3 100!
frames 2 and three (girl smoking on JCH Streetpan 400 and the child eagerly awaiting ice cream are hands down my favourites of the month. The look of anticipation on the child’s face reminds me of how I’d (im)patiently do the same thing when I was around his age…well, perhaps now as well.
September 2019: 13 rolls
More messing around with the 85mm Nikkor this month, and looking back I was definitely playing with high contrast light more this month than any other time during the year.
My low-light photography from previous months was partly to blame for this and developed even further the following month. If you notice two nearly-identical shots in the gallery below, they’re from my Ricoh GR1s vs R1s which I published in October last year.
This month’s film stocks were Ultrafine Xtreme 100, ILFORD SFX 200, Kodak EKTACHROME 160T (5077), Fujifilm FUJICOLOR C200, Fujifilm FUJICOLOR C200, Fujifilm FUJICOLOR C200, Kodak Ektar 100, Fujifilm FUJICOLOR 100, Silberra U400, Lomography Color Negative 400, Lomography Color Negative 400, Kodak EKTACHROME E100G, Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS and Kodak T-MAX 100.
Favourite frames: the cat, the lightbulb and the two gents squatting in the street. tht last frame is a weird one as it was my first time to a) witness something happenning on such a busy thoroughfare and b) neither man knew the other. They came from separate directions, squatted and when the light went green, went their separate ways. BIZZARE.
The cat is a neighbourhood friend I’ve been slowly getting to know. She still doesn’t quite trust anyone aside from her owner/slave but we’re getting there. I love the timid/sheepish look on her face.
October 2019: 4 rolls
I continued playing around with my Horizon S3 Pro (my immense failure follows below). I also decided to try out some more low light photography, this time, focusing more on “street” with a deep purple filter and pushed Kodak Ektar and Portra 160 (shot at EI 1250 and pushed 4 stops in development).
The results were not as crazy-grainy as I expected and I love the colours: love them. I expect more of this over the coming months, especially now that I’ve acquired a more suitable lens (Nikon VR for the win!)
This month’s films were ILFORD Delta 400 Professional, Kodak Portra 160, Kodak VISION3 250D (5207) and Kodak Ektar 100. My favourites come from the pushed/filtered colour negative film. I was going for a very specific look and was surprised that I seemed to have nailed it on my first attempt. My next step will be to enhance the effect and as ever, Ill be endeavouring to do that in-camera vs in post.
November 2019: 6 rolls
That 85mm lens continued to shine and shine. I also managed to get my hands on 7artians’ 75mm f/1.25 and 28mm f/1.4 around this time and decided to have a bit of a play.
After focusing more on what some might consider more traditional street photography, I found a real connection with longer focal lengths and that particular style. I’ve never been one for wider lenses for “street” and being able to pick out detail and texture (along with people in context) has really helped change the way I see the world.
This month’s films were Fujifilm FUJICOLOR 100, ILFORD ORTHO PLUS, ILFORD ORTHO PLUS, Lomography Potsdam Kino 100 and Kodak Tri-X 400.
The first and last images in the gallery below are my hands down favourites from this month. The first frame because of the mixture of natural and artificial light hitting the face of the subject and the second frame because of the humour of it all. The stall owner was smoking while rearranging his wares, all the while dropping cigarette ash into it.
December 2019: 14 rolls
Ah…year-end! My comparison/head-to-head of Fujifilm’s new and old ACROS 100 films took up most of my headspace in December but I still managed to get out and shoot quite a lot during the first half of the month. Post-Christmas was almost a complete bust photographically but that’s ok, I was mostly frustrated about not being able to get out and play with my new toys more than anything else!
This month’s film stocks were Street Candy ATM 400, Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS II, Lomography Berlin 400, Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS, ILFORD ORTHO PLUS, Silberra Pan 200 and Fujifilm NEOPAN 400 CN.
More tough choices and although frames 2 and 3 (the women) might be the obvious choice, for me, it was the final sea/stairs frame and the shot through the room (with stools holding the doors open). The peace and tranquillity I remember feeling at both locations – for very different reasons – is what round them up as my final faves of the year.
2019’s large format film
As promised, here are a few sheets of large format film from 2019. There’s not much but I only wanted to give you a flavour is all. The five frames below were all taken with my Graflex Speed Graphic and Kodak Aero Ektar combo, aka the AEROGraphic.
Large format, to me, is almost the antitheses of my 35mm/medium format. Everything is planned to the nth degree: time, location, subject. I’ve gotten all too used to taking my gear out without a specific plan in mind for the only result to be a sore back.
To be fair, the same can be said for my LF plans in 2019, which suffered more failure than success but I shot 40-ish sheets in total (both outdoors and around my home), which for me, is enough!
And there you have it, that’s my 2019 on film. I’m not done just yet. Data about the film, cameras and lenses I shot with follow below.
Stats, stats, stats
I mentioned documenting and archiving my photographs at the top of this article. It’s not a perfect system but it works well enough for me. As a result, it means that looking back on gear, film, formats, etc., is a relatively easy task and quite useful if there’s a specific look I want to try and recreate.
I’ve put together some of that data in a format you might find useful. Click the links below to jump to a specific set:
Some data-based/gut-feel takeaways from 2019:
- I still prefer using SLRs over rangefinders – I want to see through my lens.
- I wildly dislike zone focusing – my photography typically uses shallow DoF to pick out or define subjects in busy situations.
- It was a year of transitioning to longer focal lengths on 35mm film. No fewer than 43 rolls of film were taken on my 85mm Nikkor alone.
- Automation is the king of my 35mm photography. By this, I mean that the majority of 2019’s 35mm film was shot on cameras with some form of drive/focus automation: Nikon F100, Nikon 6 and Nikon FM3a with motor drive.
- Black and white film dominated my 120 and 4×5 photography. That’s not surprising considering the cost of large format colour film but surprising to me for 120 format.
- My 35mm photography was evenly split between colour and black and white film.
- I need to continue pushing ahead with wide-aspect photography with both 120 and 35mm film.
- I have more cameras than I shoot (duh). I sold or gave away five cameras/systems this year but acquired four new lenses and five cameras. Rising prices will hopefully put a stop to that in 2020.
Here’s the data:
Total rolls by format/type
Honestly, I’m pretty sure I shot more BW infrared than I recorded. Two more, in fact. I may have messed up somewhere so I’m going to see if I can dig them out.
What REALLY surprised me was the amount of 120 slide film I shot. Or, the lack of it. I’ll definitely be mindful of remedying that in 2020.
|Types / Formats||120||135||4x5|
|BW infrared (negative)||2||1|
|Motion Picture BW (negative)||1|
|Color Infrared (reversal)||3|
|Motion picture color (negative)||3||2|
More of a nice-to-see-in-one-place table than anything else. I had expected I’d shoot more in the summer months but my blips don’t really have much reason behind them aside from available time and opportunity.
Full film roll data
This one’s a little more complicated than the others above due to the volume of data present. You can use the dropdown box to alter the number of rows shown and the search box at the top right will let you filter in realtime.
It’s my first time sharing this depth of information publicly and I feel a little naked. I’m sure I’ll get over it.
|1||January||Kodak VISION3 500T (5219)||500||135||Color negative (motion)||Ricoh GR1s||GR 28mm f/2.8|
|2||January||Lomography Berlin 400||800||135||BW negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|3||January||Kodak VISION3 500T (5219)||500||135||Color negative (motion)||Ricoh GR1s||GR 28mm f/2.8|
|4||January||Kodak Portra 160||160||135||Color negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||7artisans 35mm f/2|
|5||January||Kodak Portra 160||160||135||Color negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f/4|
|6||January||Lomography Color Negative 400||400||135||Color negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f/4|
|7||January||Lomography Color Negative 400||400||135||Color negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||7artisans 35mm f/2|
|8||January||ILFORD Pan 100||100||135||BW negative||Contax 139Q||Carl Zeiss Tessar T* 45mm f/2.8|
|9||January||ILFORD HP5 PLUS||800||120||BW negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|10||January||ILFORD FP4 PLUS||800||120||BW negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|11||January||ILFORD FP4 PLUS||800||120||BW negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|12||January||ILFORD HP5 PLUS||800||120||BW negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|13||January||Santa RAE 1000||1000||135||BW negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f/4|
|14||January||Fujifilm FUJICOLOR Superia X-TRA 400||800||135||Color negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|15||January||Kodak Portra 160NC (non-perf)||160||135||Color negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|16||January||Fujifilm NEOPAN 400||800||135||BW negative||Ricoh GR1s||GR 28mm f/2.8|
|17||February||Kodak AEROCHROME III Infrared Film (1443)||400||120||Color infrared reversal||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|18||February||Kodak EKTACHROME E100VS||100||120||Color reversal||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|19||February||ILFORD Delta 400 Professional||800||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|20||February||ILFORD SFX 200||6||120||BW infrared negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|21||March||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS||800||120||BW negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|22||March||Fujifilm NEOPAN 400||800||120||BW negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|23||March||Lomography Color Negative 800||800||120||Color negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|24||March||Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400||400||135||Color negative||Nikon FM3A||Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S|
|25||March||Lomography Color Negative 100||100||135||Color negative||CONTAX AX||Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm f/2.8|
|26||March||Ultrafine Xtreme 400||400||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|27||March||Bergger BRF-400||400||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D + ISCO Ultra Star 2.1|
|28||March||Bergger Pancro 400||400||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F + ISCO Ultra Star 2.1|
|29||March||Kosmo Foto Mono 100||200||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D + ISCO Ultra Star 2.1|
|30||March||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS||400||135||BW negative||Nikon FM3A||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D + ISCO Ultra Star 2.1|
|31||March||Kodak Eastman Double-X (5222)||800||135||BW negative (motion)||Nikon FM3A||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D + ISCO Ultra Star 2.1|
|32||March||Kodak Pro Image 100||100||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|33||March||Fujifilm FUJICOLOR Pro 400H||400||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|34||May||Kodak AEROCHROME III Infrared Film (1443)||400||120||Color infrared reversal||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|35||May||CatLABS X FILM 80||80||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|36||May||ILFORD HP5 PLUS||400||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|37||May||ILFORD HP5 PLUS||800||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|38||May||Kodak EKTACHROME E100VS||100||120||Color reversal||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|39||May||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS||100||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|40||May||ILFORD HP5 PLUS||800||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|41||May||Kodak AEROCHROME III Infrared Film (1443)||400||120||Color infrared reversal||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|42||May||Kodak EKTACHROME E100VS||100||120||Color reversal||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|43||May||JCH Streetpan 400||400||135||BW negative||Ricoh GR1s||GR 28mm f/2.8|
|44||May||ILFORD Delta 400 Professional||800||135||BW negative||Zenit Horizon S3 Pro||MC 28mm f/2.8 MG|
|45||May||ILFORD SFX 200||200||120||BW infrared negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|46||May||Kodak Portra 400||400||135||Color negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||Leica Elmar 50mm f/2.8|
|47||May||Kodak Portra 400||400||120||Color negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|48||May||Kodak Portra 160||160||120||Color negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|49||May||Kodak Portra 160||160||120||Color negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|50||May||Kodak Portra 400||400||120||Color negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|51||May||Kodak Portra 800||800||120||Color negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|52||June||Kodak Ektar 100||100||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D + ISCO Ultra Star 2.1|
|53||June||CatLABS X FILM 80||50||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|54||June||Kodak EKTACHROME E100VS||100||120||Color reversal||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D + ISCO Ultra Star 2.1|
|55||June||Kodak T-MAX 100||100||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|56||July||Lomography Purple XR 100-400 v1||400||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|57||July||Lomography Purple XR 100-400 v2||400||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|58||July||Lomography Purple XR 100-400 v3||400||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|59||July||ILFORD XP2 Super||200||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|60||July||Kodak Hawkeye Traffic Surveillance Black and White Film 2485||800||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|61||July||Silberra Color 100||100||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|62||July||Lomography Potsdam Kino 100||100||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|63||July||Shanghai GP3 100||100||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|64||August||Lomography Color Negative 800||400||135||Color negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||7artisans 50mm f/1.1|
|65||August||Fujifilm FUJICOLOR C200||200||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|66||August||Lomography Color Negative 800||800||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|67||August||Kodak Portra 400||400||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|68||August||Lomography Color Negative 800||800||135||Color negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|69||August||Lomography Purple XR 100-400 v3||400||120||Color negative||Fuji GW690III Professional||EBC Fujinon 90mm f/3.5|
|70||August||JCH Streetpan 400||400||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|71||August||Fujifilm NEOPAN 400||800||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikon Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D|
|72||August||ILFORD Delta 100 Professional||200||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikon Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D|
|73||August||Shanghai GP3 100||200||135||BW negative||Olympus XA||Zuiko 35mm f/2.8|
|74||August||Ultrafine Xtreme 100||100||135||BW negative||Nikon F100||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|75||September||ILFORD SFX 200||100||135||BW infrared negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||Canon Serenar 50mm f/1.5|
|76||September||Kodak EKTACHROME 160T (5077)||160||135||Color reversal||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|77||September||Fujifilm FUJICOLOR C200||200||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|78||September||Fujifilm FUJICOLOR C200||200||135||Color negative||Ricoh GR1s||GR 28mm f/2.8|
|79||September||Fujifilm FUJICOLOR C200||200||135||Color negative||Ricoh R1s||Ricoh 30mm f/3.5 / 24mm f/8|
|80||September||Kodak Ektar 100||100||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|81||September||Fujifilm FUJICOLOR 100||100||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|82||September||Silberra U400||100||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|83||September||Lomography Color Negative 400||400||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|84||September||Lomography Color Negative 400||400||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|85||September||Kodak EKTACHROME E100G||100||135||Color reversal||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|86||September||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS||100||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|87||September||Kodak T-MAX 100||100||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|88||October||ILFORD Delta 400 Professional||800||135||BW negative||Zenit Horizon S3 Pro||MC 28mm f/2.8 MG|
|89||October||Kodak Portra 160||1250||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|90||October||Kodak VISION3 250D (5207)||250||135||Color negative (motion)||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|91||October||Kodak Ektar 100||1250||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|92||November||Fujifilm FUJICOLOR 100||100||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|93||November||ILFORD ORTHO PLUS||80||135||BW negative||Exakta VX||Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8|
|94||November||ILFORD ORTHO PLUS||80||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|95||November||Lomography Potsdam Kino 100||100||135||BW negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||7artisans 28mm f/1.4|
|96||November||Kodak Tri-X 400||400||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|97||December||Street Candy ATM 400||400||135||BW negative||Leica M6 TTL 0.85||Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f/4|
|98||December||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS II||100||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|99||December||Lomography Berlin 400||400||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|100||December||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS||100||135||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 80mm f/4 CFi|
|101||December||ILFORD ORTHO PLUS||80||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|102||December||Silberra Pan 200||100||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|103||December||Fujifilm NEOPAN 400 CN||400||135||BW negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
|104||December||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS II||100||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|105||December||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS II||100||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|106||December||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS II||100||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|107||December||Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS II||100||120||BW negative||Hasselblad 2000FCW||Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 F|
|108||December||LomoChrome Metropolis XR 100–400||400||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF|
|109||December||LomoChrome Metropolis XR 100–400||400||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF|
|110||December||Kodak Pro Image 100||100||135||Color negative||Nikon F6||Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF-D|
Breakdown by camera brand
If anyone’s interested, here’s my 2019 camera preference by manufacturer. I think I should just come out and admit I’m a bit of a Nikon and Hasselblad fanboy.
|Camera brand||# of rolls|
Breakdown by film brand
And finally, my breakdown by film brand. There are a few discrepancies here, as I distinctly remember shooting more of certain brands throughout the year. Just like the black and white infrared above, I need to go digging.
|Film brand||# of rolls|
|Japan Camera Hunter||2|
That’s it for the data. Feel free to come to your own conclusions but make sure you read mine below first.
Taking lessons from 2019 into 2020 and beyond
For someone not getting paid to press the shutter button, 145-ish rolls of film in a year is a fair bit. Still, it’s less than half the volume of typical years for me. If that comes across like a low key brag, it’s not meant to. I absolutely love making photographs and (aside from a few years back with a Ricoh GR1v) don’t spray and pray 😉
I have a deep, personal connection with photography. It’s a huge part of who I am and what I do. If I’m not taking photographs, I’m normally thinking about it.
As 2019 drew to a close, it felt like I was shooting more than I was. I felt in the thick of it, engaged and vibrant. I started thinking more about my photography throughout the year – both losses and wins – and I found that my interpretation/impression of the year gone by was almost entirely positive.
The evolution of my perception – the feeling of a frictionless photographic world – over the year was an important part of what drove me on. I accepted failure/broken plans with a Zen-like attitude. It served as a fantastic feedback loop and helped me drive energy into the next roll and the next and the next.
You hopefully noticed I called out my favourites from each month’s gallery above. Here they are in one place.
Not much of a cohesive story for you perhaps but collected, they say something to me: taking pressure off myself with the idea of “doing nothing” worked and by the end of the year, I realised this personal success was more to do with acceptance, improvement and moving on than simply “doing nothing”.
An unintended side effect was finding personal meaning in my photography. It may sound wishy-washy and overly sentimental but it feels like I found the photographer I used to be and discovered the beginnings of the kind of photographer I want to become.
By that I mean through the year, I learned/solidified what I want to keep shooting in the future, how that’s tied to my past and how I want to finesse my approach. If you want to know what that is specifically, just look through the frames above: texture, shadow, light, people, snippets of my life and those of others. It’s likely not that different from most people reading this but it was good to make that realisation on a personal level.
That re/discovery had a number of important impacts: I find myself enjoying more frames from each roll and better see the potential in frames that aren’t quite there. I’m not as self-judgemental and you could say that through acceptance, my keeper rate increased.
As a tool, learning to recognise potential – especially in apparent failure – cannot be underestimated. It requires a mindset of viewing failure against expectations as a means of improvement and not the oversimplified labelling of apparent failure as absolute failure. I never thought I would translate that into my photography. I never made the connection.
The time at rest between shooting and reviewing the year’s photographs helped enormously. I was a little concerned about how I might interpret results from later in the year but there wasn’t much in it. I can see my progression and my “failures” through the year were more a case of missing focus or fudging framing. I’m ok with that. The things I went out of my way to shoot with a specific film or camera mostly worked out well and that in itself was a bit of a shock considering 2018!
Completing this retrospective and the introspection that came with it was well worth the time and I strongly advise anyone else out there who might be feeling a little lost to do something in a similar vein. It won’t likely result in the same desire for a “do nothing” approach like mine and frankly, it may take more than one crack at the whip before you accept what you’re being told by your own photographs but it’ll be there, somewhere.
A final thought before I leave you: looking back over a year of your own photography is a valuable and rewarding exercise in and of itself. For me, that meant jumping through 4,500 photographs.
I’m so very glad I did.
Ps. I’d like to extend a huge thanks to Diz, Sandeep, Monika, Aislinn and Rob for their feedback and helping me dig a little deeper to express my thoughts better than I could have done alone.
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