In September I went to pride for the first time since coming out. I didn’t intend to take a lot of photos but I always have a camera with me and in a hurry to get to the bus I picked some film to put in my bag to shoot. I chose Cinestill 50D because of its ability to capture bright, vibrant summer days. I’ve previously reviewed Cinestill 50D here on EMULSIVE so if you would like a more in-depth explanation of why I enjoy this film then I recommend reading that review.
Having learned that Fujicolor Industrial 100 was discontinued earlier this year I have been hoping I could find a film to replace it. I have not really replaced it yet and I have one roll of Fuji Industrial left but I have found that Cinestill 50D gets close to some of what I liked about Fuji Industrial on bright days. Both Film stocks are obviously very different.
Cinestill uses Kodak motion picture film and Fujifilm is Fujifilm and thus the differences in colour casts and tones differ. Cinestill 50D is also sensitive to shadows. I find I have to be very careful not to shoot this film in overcast conditions because even slight shade can flatten and dull the colours.
Cinestill BWxx (rebranded Kodak EASTMAN Double-X 5222) is an ISO 250 rated black and white motion picture film. It is available in 35mm and 120 format and unlike colour negative motion picture films, does not have a remjet layer.
It is important to note that the remjet layer serves a purpose, when removed the red halation that characterise Cinestill 800T appears. Halation occurs when light passes through layers of the film and is reflected or otherwise scattered. Remjet being black in colour would then likely prevent or eliminate halation because of it’s dark colour since as most film photographers who develop or print know, dark colours absorb light and light colours reflect it.
A clear reason to shoot Cinestills colour films is the pre-removal of the remjet layer that means they can be more easily developed at a lab or at home where these chemicals are often easier to get than ECN-2. I want to say that I am a lot less excited to try different BW films than I am colour. I think it’s the fact that I know which black and white films I most enjoy (ILFORD FP4 PLUS and HP5 PLUS, occasionally Delta) and those do what I want them to in terms of having predictable results.
With colour it is obvious to see differences between film stocks however with black and white I’ve found that it takes shooting and comparing the films to ones I am more familiar and knowledgeable of. I happened to have a roll of Cinestill BWxx saved from a time where I bought large amounts of film and kept it in a drawer. I think I might of bought it because I like Cinestill and I wanted to venture into other films they sell aside from Cinestill 800T (a great film but at times so popular that it’s more of a look than a material to mould to your idea).
On this occasion I threw it into my rucksack with no intention to shoot it that day but just as a backup for whenever I need a roll. I thought the roll of 50D would be enough for the entire duration of the parade, it was not. In this article I will describe these films in the context of how I shot them and the experience I had and why this experience matters to me.
On September 4th 2021 I went to my first Pride parade. I had gradually this year come out to people around me. The hardest person to come out to was actually myself. I denied that I was and could be attracted to other girls, when I did realise that the feeling I experienced was attraction I tried to deny it and told myself that it was either inappropriate or not real. It is real and now I realise that that feeling that I had from a young age and was scared of is completely ok and something to celebrate.
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Pride was supposed to have happened in June but was postponed to September and on this day the weather was surprisingly very warm and sunny. Before leaving home I found it hard to choose between shooting digital or film but eventually chose film because I wanted to shoot with the Pentax MX and for the way that film allows me to just focus on shooting instead of things like how much battery is left or white balance.
The compositions I shot were chosen based on wanting to both document the scene and the things that caught may focus and captivated me. It is a belief of mine that our mood affects the way we shoot just as being drunk or sober also does but for other reasons (notably after some wine I stop thinking as much about the final result or and the metering). In this case I was feeling a combination of different kinds of good and excited emotions. The colours, people and sounds were at times too much to take in but the final result was a feeling of pride in being out. This feeling translated to the photos I took.
As I paused close to the final part of the parade I loaded the Cinestill BWxx. It was slowing down and the BW was the perfect way to end a really good experience. As we walked I saw a group of balloons floating up towards the sky and decided then that I would digitally colour it after scanning.
Shooting with the Pentax MX, the camera I feel most comfortable to shoot quickly with was important to the photos being possible to make. Having to often photograph and walk at the same time meant that I kept my shutter speed short and luckily because it was so light I could still have a larger depth of field.
Shooting pride on black and white was not obvious to me, the rainbows are not visible but this felt like a historic event, for me and also because later that month Switzerland would vote on equal marriage, a vote which was won in favour of yes. Having been born in 1999 and therefore not having been alive during many of the important events for LGBTQIA+ rights, I often have to remind myself that it’s not a given that I have the same rights as those who fit the norm.
Sweden legalised same-sex marriage in 2011 and although I do believe that section 28 affected the way homosexuality was talked about in school, I was not in school at the time that it existed and by the time I was in school it had been about 4 years since It’s end.
Still, I find myself bitter when I think about the way that society assumes and assigns us identities without necessarily teaching us what they mean or telling us that we may not identify as the default societal norm. I felt this bitterness turn to a happiness at pride. Happy that I survived school, survived the mental health issues and made it to that moment of being able to openly say that I’m gay and that although I’m still working on self acceptance I don’t ever want to be closeted again.
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To mix a the whole series a bit, it would be nice to not only shoot people from behind. Especially on a pride-walk are very interesting people, who don’t mind being photographed.