The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

By Ana Sousa

I started shooting exclusively in analogue approximately 5 years ago. At the beginning it was like entering a carousel full of expectations and experiences. I wanted to learn everything quickly and with quality. Of course it’s never like that! The curious story I will tell you here happened at that time in 2019/2020. I was so fascinated with analogue cameras that I wanted to try all of them in the world.

It was then that I was loaned a Petri 7s rangefinder, a novelty for me as I was just used to using an Olympus OM1. The camera belonged to a friend’s father, a history teacher, Carlos Alberto Pedroso Sanches, who used it in 70-80s while he was a journalist in Luanda and later when coming to Portugal to teach. I did a brief inspection of the camera, although I had no idea what I needed to see to confirm that it would be able to shoot. I immediately put a roll on it. I remember noticing the weight in my hands, trying to get used to the typical rangefinder way of focusing, the silence when shooting, in other words, everything is faster and simpler. I thought: ok, this is cool… even the light meter works. Flawless.

72 Photos taken at a glance around the city where I live, Lagos. I would return home satisfied like a child who has been playing in the playground.
I developed the rolls at home, with all the care and attention at the time, something I do nowadays with more ease.  Practice leaves me distracted and that sometimes comes at a cost. And the conclusion of that revelation: failure… a complete let down when looking at the negatives. I didn’t see any images that were sharp, and they were all underexposed. I was so sad. Even so, I arranged that set of negatives in the dossier with the aim of reminding myself to be more careful in future experiences of this kind. And there they stayed for a year and a half or more.

In 2021, I don’t remember the reason, I was probably in the middle of another idea or some other experience, but I decided to scan one of those negatives. I edited the photo in LR and… Wow! I decided I had something there after all. I scanned the remaining negatives, which all needed similar adjustments, and I loved the set. As at the time I was reading a book whose story unfolded on a threshold between reality and something else, I immediately linked it. Books are an excellent way to encourage creativity.

In other words, after so much time I decided to go back to the Petri 7s, I loaded 1 more roll, using it in a more enlightened and intentional way. The objective was to explore the results of the incorrect functioning of the machine.

This experience was, I see it now, remarkable for me because, currently, what really excites me about analogue photography are all the unpredictable particularities, all the “errors”, all the characteristics that are registered in an image due to any random factor, which reveal in unique and unrepeatable results. I believe that using the currently available technology properly, it is possible to reproduce similar effects, that are similar or even prettier. However, this doesn’t inspire many of us in the same way, does it?

Nowadays, I still get a thrill when someone lends me an analogue machine that belonged to someone in the family, which allows the connection to an emotional story of some importance in people’s lives, and which has been in storage for many years. I still don’t want to know if they work correctly or not, I always use them in anticipation and in the question – what surprise will you give me? I assume the results and if I detect any malfunctions, so much the better. It is a kind of homage to the history that object has, and to the people who used it, because the importance is on the people, not on the object itself. At the same time, it allows me to take pictures that sometimes surprise me, which was the case with the Petri 7s.

“Liminãre” – between my reality and something more…  I_llogic

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About The Author

By Ana Sousa
Amateur photographer since November 2016. Self-taught, i started analogue photography in December 2019 with the acquisition of his first analogue camera - Olympus OM1. Currently, in addition to this one, he usually uses the Mamiya RB67, Mamiya 6 folder, Olympus GO 100, etc. I enjoy the entire photographic process, from the moment i take the picture to the enlargement on paper, dedicating also to other techniques such as stenopeic photography and cyanotype.
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Comments

Aurelija Sapkiene on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 28/02/2023

Dreamy mysterious images...Love it.
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Castelli Daniel on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 16/02/2023

I ran a school photo program for 35 years. I stressed following established film processing norms as set out by Ilford & Kodak. I also forced the students to make prints of their ‘mistakes’ from their first rolls. These prints formed their first in-house exhibit. We borrowed Robert Capa’s title of his D-Day photo book ‘Slightly Out of Focus’ for the yearly exhibit. The kids were skeptical, but most came around and had fun. This went on for years. Thank you for posting and reminding all of us there are diamonds in rough cut stones.
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John Pemberton on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 15/02/2023

For several years, I did my analog work with a Petri 2.8, the predecessor to the 7. All the imperfections are like little Easter eggs waiting to be found on Easter morning. I found the same thing as you, stuff I thought was for sure garbage, came to life when scanned. The only requirement is that the user of the camera had to see and compose an image well. This you have done! Congrats!
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Ana Sousa on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 15/02/2023

Thank you very much David for your words. It is always important to have motivating feed back
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Cos on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 15/02/2023

Beautiful images, Ana. Thank you!
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David Hume on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Lovely images Ana that hang together very well as a series I think. I also had a look through your portfolio site and was impressed by your eye. I think the quality of your vision is rare, and feel others will also appreciate your work. Cheers.
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Harry Machold on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Amazing images....yes, dreamy and yet so real... So much Proust like... "A la recherche du temps perdu".... My compliment.. Harry from Vienna..
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Justin Kingery on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Oh my. The image with the dog silhouette is hauntingly beautiful! Amazing.
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Dave Powell on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Well-put Ibraar. But also with their culling and curating! A friend of mine grew up in California right next to Ansel Adams’ property. And she still remembers watching him feed a bonfire with negs and prints that he didn’t want anyone to ever see. As we all know, images that one hates early on may become favorites later in life. One has to wonder how many unknown gems Ansel put to the torch… and perhaps even regretted later!
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Ana Sousa replied:

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Yes, that was the main purpose for sharing my experience - to always keep the results, even those that seem to be spoiled or that we don't like

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Dave Powell on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Well-put Ibraar. But also with their culling and curating! A friend of mine grew up in California right next to Ansel Adams' property. And she still remembers watching him feed a bonfire with negs and prints that he didn't want anyone to ever see. As we all know, images that one hates early on may become favorites later in life. One has to wonder how many unknown gems Ansel put to the torch... and perhaps even regretted later!
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brad s sprinkle on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

What beautiful images! I tend to take spoiled negatives such as these and print them. Double mat and framing soon after. Cheers! Brad
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João Fernandes on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

So good to see this set of images with the Petri 7S
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Dan Mountin on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

In my humble opinion, the ethereal quality of these photos evokes one's dreams and is absolutely stunning! Well done!
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Dave Powell on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Lovely images Ana!
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Ana Sousa replied:

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Thanks Dave

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Ibraar Hussain on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Thanks for the write up of your thoughts and experience And the dreamy photos One thing I’ve noticed is that most seasoned Film shooters tend to get very consistent results with their negatives, developing and printing.
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Ana Sousa replied:

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

Thanks Ibraar. Yes, I also like to make series of photos that have some visual coherence, with the aim of enlarging

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Gil Aegerter on The Spoiled Negatives from a Spoiled Petri 7s – By Ana Sousa

Comment posted: 14/02/2023

An interesting approach. Art needn't be crisp in focus and perfectly exposed.
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