52 x 36 – A Whole Year of Film – Part One – By Jake Yorath

Over the course of 2023, I’ve decided I’m going to shoot a roll of film every week. 52 films sounds both like not very much, and yet also an absolutely enormous number. 52 weeks times 36 shots – hence 52×36 – is a rather daunting 1872 images. Of course, 35mm film comes regularly on 24 exposure rolls too, and I also intend to shoot medium format – usually 15 images from a standard 120 roll on my Bronica ETRS – and some instant. Let’s conservatively call it 1200 images.

This challenge stems from three things: wanting to give myself a routine; wanting to encourage – read “force” – myself to create more often; and the fact I recently came into possession of a huge box of film to go with my strange little collection of 35mm, medium format and instant cameras.

I plan not to use the same camera or film two weeks running, giving me a chance to really get a feel for the differences across formats, equipment and film stock. As it stands, I have some preconceptions but no firm preferences. My dad, a veteran of film photography, has helped me set up my first every home developing station, which will help cut costs significantly. If I don’t develop and scan as much as possible myself, the costs will likely become prohibitive very quickly. Printing is something we can worry about later! For now, I’m not planning to home-process anything but black and white. Colour and/or slide can wait until I’ve really got my eye in.

I shot my first roll between the Sunday 1st and Saturday 7th of January with my charity-shop-sourced Olympus Trip 35, a camera I adore for its beauty, simplicity and surprisingly outstanding image quality. For film stock, I went with Ilford HP5 – snapped at box speed – because using colour film in a British January would undeniably be a waste. British winters don’t really have colours, they have shades.

One of the things I noticed almost immediately, but that was highlighted especially when I switched to an SLR for the second week of the year, was the almost fire-and-forget nature of the Trip. It’s so easy to use that it’s almost too easy. Thanks to its beautiful selenium meter, it decides what exposure you need, without any need for consideration or thought on the part of the user. On more than one occasion, because it’s simply a viewfinder as opposed a rangefinder, I entirely forgot to adjust the zone focus – I suspect this is something I’d get better at if I more regularly used the camera. On a sunny day, with F-stops in the teens, you almost don’t need to worry about focusing at all. Is that a blessing or a curse? Honestly, both. It does mean that you don’t fret quite so much about stuff, but can mean you miss some shots.

Please enjoy a handful of snaps from that first roll: Ilford HP5, Olympus Trip 35. All were shot in Bristol, UK.

Shoppers in the post-Christmas sales criss-cross the frame
A small railway runs occasionally on Bristol’s harbourside
My favourite local coffee place, Ritual
One of Bristol’s famous harbour cranes
A selection of mirrors in a TK Maxx store

You can follow the rest of the year on my Instagram – @YorathOnFilm – and here, where I plan to write some more pieces with reflections on what I’ve learned and enjoyed.

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10 thoughts on “52 x 36 – A Whole Year of Film – Part One – By Jake Yorath”

  1. Jay Dann walker

    Hey, Jake – your opening paragraph made me stop and think…

    52 x 36 – that’s about what I take on average every week when I’m fully into using my Nikon D800s.

    Not all keepers, of course. But enough to make my images pile up in Western Digital portable hard disks, which is how I keep them for posterity – or to look at it differently, those small disks will be easier to just throw into a hopper when I’ve moved on to that big camera club in the sky…

    Moving’ on now. I like your images, and I can see you look with care and take the time to visually explore what’s around you. At least that’s what I see from the shots you’ve posted. That’s vey much how film photography used to be “way back then” when we all had film cameras and one or two lenses, or only one camera with a fixed lens. Thirty or forty years ago we prized our camera gear a lot more than we do now. Sure, there were GAS jobbers around, but not as many as now. In those now seemingly so long ago film days, often as not we had to save up for a while to afford a camera, even those of us who bought secondhand gear. Then we had to pay for film and of course processing, which weren’t cheap.

    The Olympus Trip is a real gem. In 1979 I was going to Bali for a month and I didn’t want to carry my Rolleiflex TLR or my greatly loved Pentax SLR kit with three Takumar lenses, imagine that, only three!) with me to the tropics, as I intended to travel light and not take much baggage with me. So I bought a Trip. It served me well, in fact I sold several images taken with it to book publishers (this was in the GODs when you could sell photos taken in Bali, now you can’t even give them away unless you include a $$ bribe to the art director, and even then they can get them free from the internet – yes, I’m joking (badly), but my point is there is so much digicrap photography around now, it’s impossible to cut through the chaff and actually sell an image, however good it may be.

    Anyway, back to that Trip. The next year (1980) I decided to travel overland from Singapore to London, this at a time when not many places in Asia or the Middle East were at war with each other, the going was good, and borders were all open, even now-closed places like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan et al. I took the Trip, a lens hood, one filter and 40 rolls of film in a cloth bag in my backpack, and I shot and I shot and I shot and even then I didn’t seem to be working my way thru all that much film in the course of a day’s travel.

    It cost me a small fortune to get my films (color negative stock) processed in London, by which time I had so little money left I couldn’t afford to get prints made, which had to wait until I returned to Sydney and even then I had to save up and get them printed in small job lots.

    Sadly, my negatives have now mostly faded. I did scan a fair few of them so I have the computer images to look at and remember those golden years. The Trip is still being used by a niece who recently returned to film after a few years in digital. She was pleased and happy when I offered her the Trip which she took and is now using. I’m equally pleased and happy to say it’s still producing negatives and slides as good as it did 40+ years ago, unfortunately slide film is no longer affordable so she is using mostly B&W film. And guess who is doing the processing… in my home darkroom which I still have and use often..

    We may be many decades apart in age, but we share a love of film and film cameras – you, me, your trip (and my Contax G1), and many other who read and post here on 35mmc. Long may it last.


  2. Interesting, and an ambitious and compelling goal. It will be interesting to hear your views on it all as the year goes by. It will also be quite interesting to get your take on the entire experience when the year is over.

    I will be interested to see both the photos you take and the cameras you take them with. Guess we will also need to know about the film too. So many possible combinations.

    1. Haha, sounds like you have a lot to ask about! I’ll be posting regular updates on my Instagram — link in the article — about the photos I’m taking and what I’m using to take them. I’ve been cruising ebay buying all sorts!


    This style of project is difficult to do. The commitment is enormous, both in your mind and the actual act of photography. When you complete the project, you’ll have such a great sense of accomplishment and a body of work you’ll be proud of. Keep working at it.

    I tried and failed on two occasions attempting a project of this scope. In 2016, I made a commitment to use a 50mm lens for all of my photography for one year. I split the work between a M2 and a Nikon FE2. I made it through the year.

    Now, in these post-pandemic times, I’m reaching for the 50mm more & more. The world has changed, and I’m less inclined to work with a wide-angle lens. I’m more aware of keeping a safe distance from strangers. Here in the US, the divide between ‘red & blue’ is getting wider. My old style of semi-street photography is more difficult to practice. Some people are aggressive toward photographers, thinking we’re all agents of a vast spy network. The time spent with working w/the 50mm lens is now paying dividends. I can keep a reasonable distance, I can snap away without being observed or causing a scene. I’m glad I forced myself to spend the year with only that lens. This is what I took away from my project.

  4. Nice one Jake,

    I look forward to following your progress with much interest. Looks like you might be Bristol based too, maybe we could meet up for a coffee some time and share film stories.

    I’ve got an article being published on here soon which was my kick-start into film. Like you, I’ve now started a year long project shooting film all the time. I’ve made a concerted effort since the 1st of Jan and am shooting a roll or two per week. Also just about to try B&W developing soon for the first time.

    Film is expensive and I didn’t have any lying around so home dev is going to be very important. I’ve stocked up on film, but might start looking out for some cheap expired film to play about with too. Got a couple of really old cameras including a medium format that I’d like to try too. Going to be a fun project for the year. I’ve shot 12 different types of film and I’m already discovering favourites.


    1. Hi Rod, I am in Bristol. Always open to meet other like minded film shooting idiots! ???? Self development is great, and so rewarding. I was lucky to have a very experienced tutor…

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