Hi my name is Karen and I am a photographer. Like so many people nowadays photography is accessible to all and we can all take photos using our phones, iPads/tablets, and of course a wide range of different digital cameras. However, all these different methods also create some of the image for us because of the in built software found in these devices. I am intrigued by the magic of a photograph, how you can capture that moment in time forever and it can then be shared by so many other people.
This got me thinking about how photographers captured images in the past, and not only captured the images but how they processed and developed their images. With that in mind it started me on this project. The project is to use a wide range of different vintage film cameras, not only master using them but also develop the images in the way that photographers of yesteryear did. I plan on doing this over twelve months and document my trials and tribulations along the way.
I already have an extensive collection of vintage film cameras, some of them well over 100 years old, I even have a drop glass plate camera with the whole set of glass drop plates still usable. I have cameras in most genres, from Box cameras, Folding, TLR, SLR, Rangefinders, 35mm Cameras, Instant/Compact, Holga, 3D and a Pinhole Camera. I have purchased most of my cameras from Ebay or have been lucky enough to have been given cameras from friends who have come across them and given them to me.
Many of the cameras that I am using have had to be repaired and serviced in order to use them and I have done this myself. I feel like i have learnt a lot about the cameras and their workings by just doing this and it has been really satisfying to have had a camera that hasn't worked and restore it back to it's prime again and use it.
Along with taking a photo, the image has to be developed. Today a lot of our cameras/devices will do the developing of the image for us in the camera/device itself. We can print the image off or we can share it to whoever we want via social media, email or other digital means. If you have used a phone or an iPad/tablet etc.. you can also add effects, filters or special effects via applications that you download and use.
I want this project to be an authentic test of my skills and craft and if I am going to really get my teeth into this project I want to develop and process the images the way that they would have done years ago. With this in mind I have also purchased some dark room equipment. I have some film developing tanks to develop my negatives. I can utilise my bathroom to double up as a dark room as there are no windows. When I remove a film from a camera I can do it in the dark, and put it on the a developing reel and then into a light safe developing tank and develop my own negatives. I have a flatbed scanner so i can view the images by scanning the negatives using special film negative carriers. The scanner that I use is the Canon Canoscan 9000F Mark II. I chose to use this scanner as it will accept black and white as well as colour negatives and it also accepts 35mm as well as medium format as the 3 film formats I am using are 35mm, 120 and 620 medium format.
I bought from Ebay a photographic Enlarger. I purchased the Meopta Opemus 6 Color as a fully working colour enlarger in mint condition only to later find that some parts were missing and in it's current state will only enlarge black and white images as it didn't have the colour filters. It also didn't have a lens. I was a bit miffed and went back to the seller as I felt that I had been mis sold the Enlarger and they agreed to refund some of my money back. I have now managed to source 3 different lenses which will allow me to enlarge, 35mm, 120 and 620 negatives. I have also purchased some filters in order that I will be eventually able to produce colour images from my negatives. For now I am continuing to use black and white film until I have managed to master the art of colour film development.
The photos taken above are in 3 locations, London, Hemel Hempstead and Shefford. I used a Canon T90 SLR to take the images which is a 35mm Single Lens Reflex Camera. The images are in their unedited state, I have just developed the negatives and scanned them into my iMac so that I could add them to this blog.
The Canon T90 is the last and most advanced FD mounted camera. I have other cameras in the T series, the T50, 60, 70 and the unusual T80 which I will cover at a later date. The T90 is a gorgeous looking camera. It is a heavy, well built camera, with a large view finder, gentle ergonomic curves in black. It uses a variety of modes, TV (Shutter Priority), Program (fixed programmed automatic), P (the same but with the program shiftable in whole stops), and fully manual mode. "Bulb" as also included as a mode.