The Whole Roll

36 frames / A Whole Roll from the Early Days of my Film Photography – #FullRollFriday – By Ed Worthington

April 17, 2020

So Hamish put up a tweet recently about the possibility of sharing a whole roll of 36 images, warts and all, and the first thing I thought about when I saw that was “I can do that, I’ve got loads of awful photos to share”. The second thought I had was; “Why not show some of the very first photo’s you shot on film?” So that’s what I’m going to do here.

Now when I say ‘first photo’s I shot on film’ there is a little bit of a caveat here. Firstly I am not quite young enough to have not shot film when I was a kid, in the 90’s that was all there was so this is technically from my return to film. Secondly, this probably isn’t from the first roll I shot on that return, which I’ll have to explain a little. 

I have a filing system for negatives, prints and rolls shot that I have been doing for as long as I can remember. I have a little notebook (or several now) with names of the camera used, the film shot and sometimes roughly what the general scenes shot on that roll were, it’s not remotely perfect but it jogs my memory when I look through it if I’m after something in particular. I thought I’d been doing this since the beginning, turns out I haven’t and for the life of me I can not remember where half the photos I took on the very first roll of film I shot are, and it looks like I didn’t even write it down either. Bugger.

So what we have here is the earliest roll of film that I catalogued in my first battered notebook, in the grand scheme of things it was probably the second or third roll I had shot but we’ll pretend that doesn’t matter because… who cares? From the looks of the images I would say that these were shot sometime in the Spring and Summer of 2015 as the photo’s of the house for sale are of the home I grew up in that my dad moved out of that year.

These were all taken on a Nikon FM that I had purchased off ebay at the astounding price of £50 or so (try getting a bargain like that nowadays) and that sadly ceased working a few years later. The film used was Ilford FP4 125, they were scanned in badly by me, I stupidly messed around with how dark the blacks should look on some of them for some reason I can’t remember. Anyway this is like a little trip down memory lane for me so let’s take a look at some of them.

 So this one I titled “test shot”, not sure what I was testing but it’s the view out my bedroom in the  flat I lived in at the time.

These all appear to be taken along the River Ogmore about 45 mins drive from where I live, I especially like how bad my ability to keep the horizon flat in the second and fourth image is, and that’s despite there being a big bloody bridge across the whole frame that is straight and a good reference. I do quite like the way the bridge leaps out of the frame and off into the distance on the last one here though.

Some more along the River here but including the ruins of Ogmore Castle as well. The first image is crap, not sure what composition I was thinking of there, the second one with the stepping stones doesn’t seem too bad with the stones leading to a man standing on them in the distance. The final two are pretty much the same, one has a guy on a bicycle in the foreground in front of the castle but that’s about it. 

Here we go, blurry out of focus rubbish. Two images of my girlfriend (now fiancee) and I’ve ballsed them both up.

An image of a dining table, don’t remember if this was a special occasion or I just had the camera with me. Annoying that the bottom of the glass is cut off and that I clearly decided to shoot this at the widest aperture in he universe so everything is blurry as hell.

My friend James in the kitchen of the flat we shared at the time. Don’t know what was happening here exactly, I assume I caught him off guard. Also is it just me or does there look like an arc of light is surrounding him and leading from the fridge to his arse?

Looks like I was trying out some abstract stuff. First one is of a collection of beer mats I have (coasters if you don’t know what a beer mat is), I’d say I like this but it looks like it would be on the bathroom wall of some crap chain pub in a frame. The image of the lampshade I actually quite like, I’m surprised by how in focus I managed to get it but it’s a little off centre and that is irritating. The last one here is the steering wheel of my pride and joy at the time this photograph was taken, I had made the foolish decision to buy an Alfa Romeo which subsequently did what all Alfa’s do and broke a lot and in many interesting ways.

What new camera and film combination doesn’t need a bad and horribly blurred self portrait? The thing that bugs me the most though it that I had hair in this photo and I don’t anymore.

These are images that will mean nothing to anyone except me, they’re of the house I grew up in on the day that my dad moved out and sold the house. They’re nothing special in the grand scheme of things but contain a lot of memories for me, the half fallen over for sale sign reminds me how steep the steps down to the front door were, the empty room with the armchair and fireplace was where I remember watching the 1999 Champions League Final with my Dad and Brother. The empty room with curtains half drawn is where I spent most of my childhood with my friends, playing Goldeneye on the N64 and then drinking and listening to music, even the cupboard in the corner has memories of my Granddad building it to enclose the new boiler that had been installed. Out of all of the photographs on this roll of film these ones mean the most to me.

We’re back to some blurry rubbish. I used to go for a run along this old railway line now that now forms part of the Taff Trail, it was actually the last place I went for a proper walk before the Covid 19 lockdown came in a few weeks ago as well. 

A pint in an empty pub, a pub I think I only ever went to three times even though I lived nearby for 2 years.

Some more abstract rubbish from the looks of it. The dashboard of the previously mentioned Alfa, anyone who knows me will know I’d get a kick from this because the dials are in Italian, this is how I got suckered into buying that thing. From the looks of it, it was pretty cold that morning too. The next image is of a window in the stairway of the building I lived in, it was a grand looking building that had been converted into flats. And the third is of my favourite whisky, they actually re-branded a few years ago so this particular named bottle is no longer available. Another example of photography capturing a snapshot in time that you wouldn’t even think about until later?

Some more blurry portraits, two of my girlfriend (she will hate it if she found out I shared one of her eating), and the other two are at a family dinner for someone’s birthday, maybe my brother’s? The blurry smiling man is my granddad who had given me his old Canon AE-1 a few weeks earlier when he’d seen I had started shooting film again.

Yes even this early on I could squeeze an extra shot out of a roll of 36. These look to be some early attempts at street photography by me and are a great example of why the vast majority of street photography is crap (Don’t hate me, I love shooting street but it is true isn’t it? Half my images are rubbish). Looks like a park near to where I used to live, the central train station in Cardiff which looks very different nowadays with the area being completely pedestrianised and a new HQ for BBC Wales being built opposite. Then we have a blurry man carrying a violin case and just empty streets with nothing of particular interest in them.

So there we have it, a trip through 36 images from a roll of film shot roughly 5 years ago, I hope you enjoyed looking through these despite their dubious quality. I certainly did as I’ve discovered things I’d forgotten I’d shot, dragged up memories and been reminded that practice does make you a little better if you keep at it and that you can learn something when looking back through your archive.

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Bruno Chalifour
    April 17, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Ed, thanks for sharing. By the way if you wish to find an FM to replace your defunct one for as much as you spent then there are quite a few on ebay starting at $39… Best,

    • Reply
      Ed Worthington
      April 17, 2020 at 5:39 pm

      Hi Bruno, thanks for reading. I never thought I could replace it as I will eventually just get it fixed but $39 seems crazy low for such a good camera…….maybe I’ll have a look. thanks for the heads up.

  • Reply
    Nathalie Porter
    April 17, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    Nice post. I think the full roll format works nicely for this kind of retrospective (both photographic and personal) and you used it well.

    • Reply
      Ed Worthington
      April 23, 2020 at 11:48 am

      Thank you Nathalie I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.

      • Reply
        jeremystrange
        April 25, 2020 at 2:43 am

        Hey Ed, I like your post. Photos that might not mean much to one post but have sentimental meaning to the photographer are my favourite. It makes me go back and think about the composition, and through empathy try and understand how that person might have felt now looking at them. I just got a roll back as well, and despite it being pretty poor, it had some photos of my parents house which they have since sold. I lived there for twenty years so those photos are now quite nice to look at for me. Anyone else would think them drivel, but I quite like that. Thanks for sharing.
        Jem

        • Reply
          Ed Worthington
          April 25, 2020 at 11:15 am

          Hi Jeremy, thanks very much for commenting and I’m glad you enjoyed the photo’s. Sounds like the roll you got back has some great images on it, as in great int he way you are talking about, sentimental to you with real meaning behind them.

  • Reply
    Bob Morgans
    April 18, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Good to see local scenes of Ogmore and Cardiff.

    • Reply
      Ed Worthington
      April 18, 2020 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Bob, thanks for commenting. I love getting down to Ogmore whenever i can, really like photographing the river mouth at sunset from the beach. Hopefully be able to get down there again soon.

  • Reply
    Johnny
    April 18, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Ed, I really enjoyed this, and your descriptions of the crap pictures made me laugh. I’m sure we’ve all had similar stuff, eagerly waiting for the roll to come back from the d&p lab only be crushed by the woeful results!
    I have a roll of badly out of focus pigeons on the roof of a house that I took in the 70’s and I’ve still kept them!!

    • Reply
      Ed Worthington
      April 18, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      Hi, thanks I’m glad you enjoyed it. That’s the thing though isn’t it? They make look crap but they have a bit of a story behind them, I’m sure there’ll be a point in a few decades when I look back at some of this rubbish fondly even if it is blurry out of focus nothing.

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