Film

A wet March by Brian Surguine

Our humble apartment, with a college architecture project still serving as a trusty lamp.

Our humble apartment, with a college architecture project still serving as a trusty lamp.

March was cold and damp, and, as a result, I took a lot of pictures indoors. Instead of the beautiful summer pictures from my last post, you'll get gloomy shots with an expired roll of Kodak Tri-X!

Soft hands, hard light.

Soft hands, hard light.

The film experiments continue, this time with a Kowa Six I recently acquired. The Kowa is a Japanese copy of a Hasselblad - it's a bruiser of a camera, with a big mirror and a big 80mm f/2.8 lens for its big 2 1/4" square negative. Big, big, big.

About to brave the rain. By the way, "Wild Ones" is a great read.

About to brave the rain. By the way, "Wild Ones" is a great read.

I'm not sure how I feel about shooting in square format. It feels weird when you're composing, but I really like how the pictures look. There's just so much detail and subtlety in medium format images, and the square frame introduces a different geometric bias than a rectangular frame.

A birthday coffee at Zingerman's.

A birthday coffee at Zingerman's.

To be honest, I'm not sure how much I'll use the Kowa, or how far I'll be able to pursue shooting film. I bought the Kowa because I wanted to see how far I would take the film experiment in medium format, or if it shooting film was even worth pursuing. After just one roll, I was hooked on shooting film, but undecided on the camera - it's just not that practical for my regular work, but it's a nice change for personal projects. It might make a nice portrait camera, especially with the softer optics on the 80mm f/2.8 lens.

Interruptions.

Interruptions.

I am really beginning to enjoy how film forces me to slow down and think about what I'm shooting. The different film stocks are also fun to experiment with, and Tri-X is a just wonderful. "Luscious" is the word that comes to mind: beautiful, subtle gray tones, with just the right amount of contrast. Love it, love it, love it.

Scenes from a Beach by Brian Surguine

Silver Beach, Saint Joseph MI

Silver Beach, Saint Joseph MI

Last summer, my friend Blaine Siesser lent me his Mamiya RB67 and said: "go forth and shoot film." (Not really, but the gesture essentially boiled down to that.) With a roll of Ektar 100 in hand, I set off - and had no idea what to do.

By the time I got around to taking pictures, the digital revolution was firmly underway. My exposure to film (ha) was limited to a few disposable cameras, my dad's old Olympus OM-1, and some prints my dad had made sitting around the house. Film was scary, because it was unfamiliar. Each exposure with a 6x7 format camera costs about $1, and that doesn't include developing, scanning, and the camera itself. And now I had to take a picture without the security of checking it on a screen after, or working on it in Lightroom.

St. Joseph Pier, south side. I go for a walk here whenever I get a chance.

St. Joseph Pier, south side. I go for a walk here whenever I get a chance.

Today, I got my scans back after finally sending in a couple of rolls for developing. I have to say: I don't know why I was so worried. Even with Ektar, which is more finicky with exposure than other color negatives like 400H and Portra, the scans look wonderful.

Marsie in summer garb. That focus fall-off... *unintelligible noises*

Marsie in summer garb. That focus fall-off... *unintelligible noises*

I plan to shoot a lot more film this year. Most of it will probably be 6x6 or 645 format, but I really hope to shoot 6x7 again soon. There's something about 6x7 that speaks to me - the detail, the way focus falls off, the beautiful rendering on a large negative - it's very alluring.

Anyone know this guy? I'd love to send him this picture.

Anyone know this guy? I'd love to send him this picture.

All of these pictures were taken last summer, on Silver Beach in Saint Joseph Michigan.