Author name: Vlad Serebryany

I have been shooting film since I was 13 years old. My day job has always provided me with the luxury of not having to switch my hobby into the means to pay the bills. On the other hand, I always wanted my hobby to have a commercial underpinning, meaning I wanted it to pay for itself. So I did my share of wedding photography, technical photography and now I am mostly known as maker of "Vlads Test Target" geared toward folks who scan film with digital cameras.

Adox CMS 20 film

Zen and the Art of Camera Scanning or The Brief History of Vlads Test Target – by Vlad Serebryany

No love lost. You see, my return to film photography was not because of my love of the media. Quite the opposite: I hate film. It has always handicapped me: I could not shoot in near dark, I could not fix my errors, I never knew the results until a few days later, I never had enough film on me. The random shake could ruin the shot, spoiled developer or sudden change in my tap water temperature could ruin film and so on, and on and on. Each emulsion has its own quirks and very often I would have in my camera the roll of film ill-suited to what I wanted to shoot at the moment.

Train leaving the stop

The Game Called ISO – Taking Advantage of the EV System for Better Results – By Vlad Serebryany

For as long as I was shooting film, I have had the same nagging problem: I wanted to shoot in the dark. My Dad – who gave me my first and his only camera Zorkiy with 3.5/50 mm Industar-22 – taught me not to even bother shooting at 1/30 sec or slower as the pictures would come out blurry. Given that the only film available to me was Svema’s Foto 65 (ISO 50), that meant that whenever we went anywhere, at about 5-6 pm, the camera would be stashed away and we continued our wandering without having a picture taken.

A few years later, I would struggle with the same film to take pictures at the parties, concerts and dark alleys. I was trying to push film 3-4-5 stops, but that rendered even beautiful faces to look like those of white-faced mimes. The pictures were horrible,  and more than once they would be torn into shreds after being shown to the subject.

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