Thursday, July 6, 2017

Shooting "vintage" photos using "film"

When was the last time you shot a picture on a film camera?  Betcha can't remember!  I don't think I know anyone else actively using film.  I got the urge to revisit film three years ago. I got nostalgic for my first "good" camera. A Minolta Maxxum 5000i.  Now if you know much about older cameras, you might know that is not really all that great but to me when I bought it back in 1989 for around $400, it seemed like a pretty extravagant thing to own. I still have many photos taken with it. Looking on ebay, you can find tons of this and better models of film cameras for very cheap.

So why would anyone mess with film in 2017 when you can take as many photos as you'd ever want for free with your phone??

I suppose it's not all that different from getting into listening to music on vinyl. It simply feels different.  The photos surprise you.  Remember waiting to get your photos back?  The photos don't turn out perfect and often the mistakes look cool.  By the time you take the film in you don't remember half of what was even on the roll so you get to have a fun review of the last few days, weeks, months... 

I won't get into specifics of the cameras I'm using because literally nobody cares but I have quite a few different models from early 80s back to some from the 50s. There are always good ones to be found cheap and local at places like Comprenew. I use expired film mostly. The older the better.  I find film in janky party stores gathering dust or thrift stores or etsy or ebay.

Here is the oldest roll of film I've yet found. Kmart film expiration 1981. 
Also the picture above of the roll of film was taken on film. Look at that amazing grain!

When I first got started revisiting film in 2014, there were actually still a couple places in town doing 1 hour film developing!  Moto Photo at Knapp's Corner and Walgreens at Knapp and Fuller. That Walgreens had a Family Video nextdoor. I could go to that corner and have a mild time warp experience. Drop off a roll of film then go browse movies physically sitting ON SHELVES.  The next year both places dropped the 1 hour for the same reasons as everywhere else. Limited demand but most of all, no service was available for the developing equipment anymore.

I now go exclusively to Mark's Photo on Division and 32nd.  They've been there as long as I can remember.  Along with Norman Camera on 28th St., I think they're the last and best places to go locally for film developing or used equipment.
So anyway, for those who might care, here are a few of my "vintage" photos of stuff around Grand Rapids, shot on expired film in old cameras. Oh and I'm by no means claiming to be an awesome photographer. I'm learning and sometimes I get lucky but this is more about an enjoyable hobby and the cool aesthetic of film.....