Monthly Archives: December 2012




Superheadz / Ilford HP5+ (expired)


The Ennead

This is what happens. You have film in a couple of cameras and then you pick up a new (old) camera and think “I had better put some film in here and see how it goes” and then you pick up an old camera that you haven’t used for a couple of years and you think “I like this camera, I’ll give it another spin” and before you know it, you have film in 9 cameras.

That would be an ennead of cameras. (ennead = group of nine). There are hidden advantages to this, but also disadvantages. For example, you can find that you have in your possession, pictures of forgotten days that make you smile. Also though, you might discover that your film has deteriorated, and if your camera is especially primitive, light may have got in and wiped a frame or three. I once had film in a Zenit for 3 years. Some of the frames were ghostlike, but it still had a certain vague quality which was appealing.

Right now I have film in:

  • Agfa Trolix (made of bakelite) 1936.
  • Zorki 4
  • Kodak Colorsnap 35
  • Olympus mju 1
  • Kodak Instamatic 233
  • Halina 35X
  • Olympus 35RC
  • Pentax auto 110
  • Mamiya 645

Clearly it is time I used up these films. The Instamatic has had film in for over a year, and it was already well out of date. Kodak stopped making 126 cartridge film in 1987, so that gives you some idea of how very expired this film is. In the summer, when the light is good and everyone is outside it is easy to get through film, but as the days grow short, photography gets stalled. You can still get the pictures, but they require considerably more effort and dedication. By the time I get my work done, it is already getting dark, so photography must be squeezed into the weekends.

It is all – for me at least – a wonderful exercise in uncertainty. Analogue photography is the end of a spectrum, and quite the opposite of the control and precision that has come to characterise the digital market. You put old film in an old camera and you have no idea what will come out. That is the beauty of it. I’m okay with uncertainty.



November Sunset

“November Sunset”

Superheadz / Ilford HP5+ (expired)


Pictures in the Sand


“Pictures in the Sand”

Superheadz Black Devil, Ilford HP5+ (expired)


Lindisfarne Causeway

“Lindisfarne Causeway”

Superheadz / Ilford HP5 (expired)


Zorki 4, Canon II and more processing.

It has been a long time since I wrote on here, I seem to have too many projects on the burner, to keep this current. But the plan was always to keep going and although I am not quite so fixated on chemical photography just now, I maintain a steady interest.

I pick up old cameras where I can. Today I found a Voigtlander Vitomatic IIa for £15, a tenth of its real value. This is a beautifully engineered 1960 rangefinder, and I am becoming much more in the groove with rangefinder photography than any other. Indeed, I recently bought a Canon II from a Moscow dealer. I have been thinking about getting a decent 1950s rangefinder forever, and while I liked the idea of a Contax, my little collection of beautiful Russian Jupiter glass has pushed me over into thinking in the direction of the Canon Leica copy.

Okay maybe a Leica III would be the way to go, but it costs maybe 5 times more than the Canon copy, which is (arguably) a better camera. So it’s £800 for the badge on the front, and that is not a great deal in my view.

I have a great stack of film to process. I have Ilford film from a Holga which I can process in the kitchen, but I also have several colour films from the Yashica and the Lubitel to send away to the lab.

So I will leave you with a picture taken on another Leica copy, the eminently worthy Zorki 4 with that amazing Jupiter 8, 50mm attached. It is a remarkable lens for the price of a bottle of vodka. Of course the quality of the subject is beyond compare and you won’t find one of these anywhere for any price.

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