Friday, 24 April 2015

On film

Even the casual reader of this blog will know by now that I am a film user.   Of course when I was a callow youth there was only film.  Ilford B&W films were a favourite - and still are.  The brother and I had our darkroom which our dad built for us - he was handy with the old woodwork, he was. After a few years 'perfecting' black and white processing and printing we both felt the urge to experiment with colour processing.  I took quite a few colour films and developed them - not very successfully I seem to remember.  Printing in the darkroom was a whole other game entirely - no safelight allowed, everything had to be done in total darkness.  And then the temperature was so much more critical than B&W.

Both the brother and I took colour slides as well - Kodachrome was the #1 film of choice, since Kodak did the processing and sent you back the slides in their iconic little yellow box.  Ektachrome was another Kodak product but was purchased without processing included, so you had the option of doing it yourself.  Then Cibachrome came along which allowed you to make colour prints from your slides - The Brother was a big Cibachrome user, me less so.

I came across this snap the other day - I think to be fair it was The Brother's.  Both him and I worked in photographic stores (different ones) during our teenage years and at some point he must have pointed his camera (loaded with Kodachrome) at a shelf and this was captured for posterity:

Film, c1979
What a sexy photograph, don't you agree?  Look at the names - Ilford, Agfa, Kodak, Fuji, Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Fujicolor, FP4, PanF...fantastic. And the different formats - 135 (35mm), 120, 127.  Thing is, in those days we never thought there would be anything other than film.  But as you all know the world has (by and large) gone digital and now people lust after CF cards in the same we did for film - or maybe not.  Kodak stopped manufacturing Kodachrome in 2009 and stopped processing in 2010.  Ilford are still around and manufacture PanF, FP4+ and HP5+ (as well as other faster films), although these are different films to those available in the 70s.  You can still buy Kodak and Fujicolor print film.  In fact Fuji still sell Velvia, a superb colour slide film, though it ain't cheap at nearly £20 for a 36 exposure film, processed and mounted.

I can't see myself going back to processing my own colour film but I can maybe - just maybe - see myself using colour slide film again.  There is something very special about the colour you get from slide film - as I hope to show here once I get some more scanning done.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely shot! I remember them all very well, especially the Tri-X box, the Ektachrome, Kodachrome and all the Ilford boxes. Nostalgia!!