After 122 Months, a Return to Film

This wall is near the Cobbler’s Bridge in Ljubljana’s old town center, the first picture I shot on film in ten years and two months. I intend to make many more.

This journey ‘back’ began innocently last fall when on a whim at a flea market I dropped €22 on a Zenit EM and a roll of Ilford 50 ASA black and white film that was two years beyond its expiration date. My edition of the Soviet workhorse SLR was released in 1979 for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, but the brand dates back to 1952.

Soviet workhorse
Soviet workhorse. Heavier than a Macbook Pro.

It came with a Helios-44, a fixed 58mm lens with a f/2 – f/16 aperture range. Combined, the camera and lens weigh about as much as my MacBook Pro. And is much louder, too. I like the smell of the leather case.

Below, a small handful of shots –all low resolution scans– snapped quickly during a late lunch hour in and around Ljubljana’s city center. I was happy to see that not only did the camera actually function admirably, so too did its built-in selenium cell light meter. Bottom line: I got my €22 worth.

Next lesson? Testing the patience that shooting film requires.

Tivoli underpass
Tivoli Park underpass
Ribji Trg
Alley between Ribji Trg and Mestni Trg, or Fish Square and Town Square
Celovska Street
Celovska Street
Congress Square, Ljubljana
Congress Square
Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Contemporary Art

And finally, this very unintentional triple exposure. I’m still not sure how it happened.

triple exposure


Enhanced by Zemanta
  1. That triple exposure is wonderful! And really lovely shots of city life. I would’ve spent the money on the camera even if I never intended to shoot with it – those commemorative Olympic rings on the front are so cool.

    1. The rings were the key selling point for me (and the vendor’s promise that it did indeed work). The cameras are a dime a dozen –they’re on eBay for as little as 6 GBP– but it was still nice to find the Olympic commemorative edition.

  2. It’s easy to forget what it was like shooting with film, but you have shown that it is possible to get some great effects with it!

  3. I also bought a film a few months ago, just to go old-school .
    Film is funny, but I prefer shooting digital: quicker and cheaper. Digital also has a whole lot of other positive sides (don’t have to worry about ISO, colour/B&W, how many pictures on a roll, etc, etc, etc).

    1. I agree for the most part, but old school has its pluses, too. Using a film camera will make me practice patience. I have patience with my digital, but not enough. I also like the idea of using a fixed lens (only have zooms for my DSLR), forcing me really think about composition. And most of all being very observant about exactly when to snap the shutter.

  4. Totally fantastic, I haven’t seen a film for I don’t even know how long. Very nice pictures and a great project you started. I’ve never been much into photography back in the analog era, but I can see the charm of it, just not knowing what shot you get before you actually develop the film is always a thrill. But where do you develop films these days…? 🙂

    1. More places than you’d think. 🙂 I’m sure there’s no shortage in Amsterdam where you could certainly find an ample supply of old film cameras for 20EUR a pop. 🙂

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Stories
Recuerdo Profundo by Jimenez Deredia
Scab Cab Ride