A Lesser Photographer

I just came across this manifesto of A Lesser Photographer the other day, and it’s well worth devoting a quick post to it, because I pretty much agree with everything in it. My favorite principle is #1: “Artists Thrive on Constraints.”

It’s exactly why I love simple cameras like the Holga, and shooting fixed lenses. I love just carrying the Canonet around with me or just the Lomo. When I travel I now try to restrain myself from bringing a lot of cameras, but instead challenge myself to make the most of what I have.

It’s 10 simple principles, and why you may not agree with all of them, they’re well worth a read and a minute of your time, if you appreciate photography in any way. It doesn’t matter if you love shooting digital, film or with your iPhone. It’s always worth thinking about what you can do to improve, even if it means taking things out of the equation.

Throw in the 10 Golden Rules of Lomography, and you’ve got yourself a good set of constraints, rules, principles, what have you. They’re not mantras, but they’re worthing mulling over every now and then.

Advertisements

Paradies 100 Diafilm

I found this film while searching for something on Flickr a while ago. It’s a pretty cheap slide film that’s only available at the German pharmacy dm. It’s a 100 speed slide film, and from the photos it looked as though it’d be a nice film to cross-process. So I headed into a pharmacy, bought a roll. It took me months to finish it, and yesterday I finally came around to scanning it. It has the mysterious marker CR100 on the negatives. Some information on the interwebs suggest it is some old Agfa film stock, or maybe new Precisa stock, who knows?

From the cross-processing though, it sure reminds me of Agfa film. I haven’t seen any other film so far that’s so close to the original colors while just saturating here and there. Quite odd, scratching my head a bit over here. If someone can shed some light on the mystery, please do.

In the meantime, here’s some shots I took with the Lomo LCA, as always shot at 200 speed, underexposing the film. Looks pretty nice if you ask me. All in all, it goes pretty well with the Lomo look. Might buy a couple more rolls and throw one in an SLR, just for fun and giggles.

Buying Film In Berlin Reloaded

Last year I wrote about film shops and photo labs in Berlin. As time passes, things obviously change. About time to give an update on what exactly has changed. New shops opened, existing shops (no they didn’t close but) change something, you know how things go in this economy (I love saying that, it’s so beautifully meaningless).

  • Lomography Gallery Store

    Yep, Berlin is so lucky to have one of these now. It opened last year, and obviously they’re selling all the overpriced Lomography gear you can shake a stick at. Step in, and you’ll be greated by all the different versions of their flagship product, the Diana+. The shop is quite nice, features a large Lomo wall, but you won’t find everything here their online shop has to offer. They sell film, cameras, t-shirts, bags, you name it. Placed in a good location to get a hold of lots of tourists. If you’re a true lomographer living in or visiting Berlin, this is the place to go.

    They also have workshops from time to time, you can watch their Facebook page for updates. Workshops are reasonably priced, and you usually get a camera and film for the duration of the workshop to try things out. Can’t say they’re not trying their best to keep film alive.

  • PPS Imaging

    Much to my dismay, these guys changed their opening hours. They’re now open from 10 am to 6:30 pm, which is a bit unfortunate but definitely means they can run the shop in one normal 8-hour shift. Totally understood, but not great if you like dropping off film early (as in: 9 am).

  • Foto Impex

    Foto Impex is by far the cheapest place to buy film. That is all. Nothing has changed at Foto Impex, I just wanted to give that nice little update. I’ve run around Berlin last week to get Fuji Neopan 1600. I already knew Foto Impex would be cheap, but I finally got confirmation.

    There’s only some big stores online or much too far away from where I live, but the margin is only a couple of cents. Foto Impex is my happy place to buy film. That’s a fact. If you want to buy 35mm or 120 film, this is the place to go. They don’t always have everything in stock, but they’ll have enough alternatives at the ready.

    Obviously they sell heaps of other stuff, and develop your film for reasonable prices, but their film prices are my baseline.

As for developing film, these days, I’m a regular at FotoWerk Berlin, simply because it’s conveniently located in my neighborhood, and because developing a roll of C41 or B&W will set you back 3,75 EUR, E6 costs 3,95 EUR. They don’t develop within a couple of hours, it usually takes about one to two days for C41 and B&W, but given my laziness to ride into the city just to get my film developed finally won, and we can drop off film here on the way to the kindergarten.

Analogue Daydreams

I was recently interviewed about the Holga by Jim Elson, an Australian exchange student. The result is a nice and short movie about people shooting Holga, showing them in action in a winter-y Berlin. To give you an idea, it was about -20 degrees Celsius when I was filmed. The Holga held up great, look ma, no batteries! Anyway, enough blabber, check out “Analogue Daydreams – The art of Holga photography.”

Analogue Daydreams – The art of Holga photography from Jim Elson on Vimeo.

Oh, and here’s Jim:

Jim

Fuji Neopan 1600

a neopan winter

While shooting a conference last November, I had my first contact with Fuji Neopan 1600, a high-speed black and white film. I decided to use it simply because I was shooting indoors most of the time, so both the high speed and the fact that it’s black and white were a good indication that it was a match.

a neopan winter

I was pretty surprised by how nice the shots came out. The high speed obviously increases the grain in the shots quite noticeably, but it’s not too bad. The film’s contrast is hard to grasp in one sentence. As it’s quite sensitive to light it’s easy to blow out overly bright areas, so having harsh contrast in the scene might result in the brighter areas of your photo being overexposed, losing contrast and detail. That’s true for overexposing the shots in general, so be careful with light metering. The grain is not even annoying (at least not for me) when the shots are underexposed. In black and white film that somehow adds character. With color, it’s just annoying.

a neopan winter

But that’s what you get for shooting film at such high speeds. It makes up for it though, because especially in grey-ish winter as we had it for the last couple of weeks, it’s pretty much the only choice you have. Even in reality things look dull, not having lots of different colors, so why bother? Might as well shoot black and white at higher speeds.

a neopan winter

There’s one area where the grain is a bit annoying though. If you like having a spectacularly thin depth of field in your shots, I wouldn’t recommend using this film. The grain takes away most of the softness you usually expect, making the blur effect look a bit weird. But I found that to be more annoying when things in the foreground are out of focus. Which is not something I enjoy in general.

a neopan winter

In general I really like this film. It’s really great for shooting indoors or for those dull days when the sun just won’t come out at least a little bit. Fits in perfectly with the atmosphere of grey autumn and winter. It’s a tad cheaper than Ilford Delta 3200, so if you can get your hand on a roll, go for it! The only downside I found was that the film only exists in 35mm format, and not in 120. Shame really. All of these shots were taken with a Nikon F90X either with a 50mm/f1.8 or 28mm/f2.8 lens.