Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hope in a box

Kodak Brownie Flash 20 and batteries After spreading doom and gloom about film's desperate future at another typer/photog-blog (sorry Chris), I spent some time poking around flickr, trying to encourage myself into thinking that we won't be living in a celluloid-free world anytime soon. I'm always on the lookout for new things to add to my "dates of interest" section on the site, and I'd forgotten about the upcoming "Take Your Box Camera to Work Day" in February. Certainly more boss-friendly event than Bring Your Offspring to Work Day (at least for those of us with curious tykes) and a suitable salute to the dying art of film photography. Box camera photography would be the original Lomography, minus the jazzy colored flash and hipster overtones. There's certainly a greater dependence on chance and luck and your ability to estimate a 7.5-8 ft distance between your lens and the subject. Exposure is a matter of chance, too -- just hope you hit that magic combination of light, film speed, and shutter timing (dodgy even when the cameras were new.) I'm thinking about participating this year, respooling some 120 film to fit into the Brownie Flash pictured. I've already tried my hand at using the faux TLR Duaflex IV, but even that camera offers options. The Brownie Flash is literally a point-and-click (and hope) in a box.

I'm also thinking that this might be a good time to dig out the old film developing equipment again. I'm not equipped for color film, which requires a far amount of noxious chemistry and preciseness with temperature. Black and white can be done at the kitchen sink, and allows a certain amount of latitude (i.e., fudging.) Since the local camera shop can provide me with film and chemistry and they're just a quick walk from the office, this seems like as good as a time as any to get back into processing. I hope that I'm wrong about the extinction of film, that it doesn't become such a novelty item that it is priced beyond the range of mortals who just want to drop a roll into a decades-old camera with shaky optics and minimal choices ("wind" "shoot") and see what develops.


Oliver said...

Oh, nice! I have the 127 version of that camera. I'd need to either cut down 120 or respool 35mm onto the backing paper (I've done this for a Baby Brownie and Holiday Flash with pleasing results.)

I'm looking forward to getting back to darkroom work, too. I had a rare child-free day off a while back and took the opportunity to develop one of the many rolls that have been sitting in a canister in the back of the fridge. Turns out that the shelf life of Diafine, while lengthy, is somewhat less than two years.

mpclemens said...

I've never found the chemistry to last that long, sadly, so if I start processing, I'm going to need to have a reason to process a lot, or buy the powdered stuff and just make it as-needed. I've probable dumped more chemistry than I've used since having kids. *sigh*