5 Frames/The Whole Roll. Sneaky, huh? By doing a 5 Frames and and a #fullrollfriday in the same post I get paid double the fee for half the work… Right? Actually I’m not sure if it’s 5 frames or 17 frames – there are 5 images but I’ve counted 17 actuations of the shutter.
To explain – for the past couple of years I’ve been shooting landscape panoramas using multiple exposures on roll film. First in a Nettar, then in an Agfa Isolette III.
Recently a kind person gave me box of various expired films that she had lying around her house and it’s been great fun shooting them and seeing what I could pull out of them. It was also nice to put some Agfa film in an Agfa camera – thus obeying the little pictogram instruction on the inside of the camera back.
This film expired in 1983 and had not been refrigerated or anything like that, so I think it held up pretty well considering. The saturation was way down and there was a fair cast to it, but you can probably guess that I’m going more for mood here than accuracy. Interestingly I had two rolls of this Agfachrome R100S and the other one had held up much better.
I shot it at roughly EI100 – but that doesn’t mean much with my technique of overlapping the frames. This is slide film of course, and the technique works better with colour neg because of the latitude, so the fact that I got anything at all was pretty fortunate.
I’ve been thinking a fair bit about digitisation lately. I digitised these myself using my Fuji X-Pro 3 on a light table. To me when I see a scan I just view it as a starting point. What interests me is the raw information it contains. I’m in no way purist about preserving a look or character – I’m most interested in pulling every bit of information off the film that I can and using that to make something I like. So why bother with film at all? Blending layers like this in Photoshop doesn’t give me anything I like nearly as much, even if I start with film scans. So it’s really a way of getting something I can get no other way.
“There are no rules in photography, it’s not a sport,” said Bill Brandt, and I agree, but there is some sport for me here, or more correctly perhaps it’s a hunt. There’s the element of chance – what will this particular film give me? I use my experience here to guess how a film will behave and match that to a subject I think will suit it. There’s an element of Zen and luck, too, and as the saying goes, the more I work at it the luckier I get. The first three frames I shot near sunset, and these last two I shot at dawn the next day. The film did not give me much in the way of reds to play with, but there was a bit. I was hoping to get some nice oranges on the wet sand.
So here’s the last one. I already knew that these last two would not be much good but I shot them anyway because it would be a while before I could get back to the coast. As I mentioned, this is a technique that I need to practise. These are just hand held by the way, so often I stuff my horizons up a bit. Overall this was a satisfying roll. My current thoughts are that it’s not great, but I’m not writing it off just yet. There might be one or two here that can I use for something – you never know what can happen.