Twenty seventeen was a year that saw me get back to enjoying film photography, trying my hand at a bit more street photography and also starting this blog. I ended up shooting next to no film in 2015 and 2016 so this was quite a dramatic turnaround. I really started to appreciate the fun in being limited to 36 exposures, the challenge of mainly manual cameras and in particular using black and white negative film. After selling quite a bit of my previous film kit in 2015, 2017 saw me get a little carried away on eBay nurturing a fair amount of gear acquisition syndrome. I decided I was going to get every Nikon F right through from the original to the F5 (as the F6 is far too pricey for a flippant eBay bid) and with an F2 purchased in December I completed the set. Whilst this may seem excessive to some, I find it really fun switching between these different bodies, which are like snapshots of peak technology for their day. I found myself using the waist level finder for my F3 and F often which gives such a difference in ergonomics when shooting out on the street.
Cameras I tried that didn’t get with me this year included an Yashica Electro GSN and Yashicamat 124G. Granted the Electro looked cool, but I realised that I prefer focusing with an SLR than a Rangefinder. The lack of a fully manual mode was also quite annoying, and so it was not a hard decision to sell after only a few rolls. As for the Yashicamat, I really wanted to like the camera. I am generally a big fan of using medium format, and the form factor of this TLR was great. However I think the focus lens was misaligned or something as many of my images were misfocussed. So again it got sold with no remorse. A camera that was purchased on a whim but ended up producing some really cool results was the AGFA Optima 335. I took it to NY and was really happy with the street shots I captured. I also picked up a FED2 and Pentax Spotmatic F pretty cheap but they haven’t been used more than looking cool on my shelf.
Processing my own B&W film again in 2017, some 4 years since I last did this, was also fun and rewarding. I still haven’t nailed the final stage in washing / drying the negatives in such as way that reduced dust and watermarks, so this is something to try and improve in 2018. I’m also having ideas that at one point in the future it’d be great to try my hand at printing again – something I only tried a couple of times in the university darkroom with mediocore results. This however seems a pipedream if I am to continue in living in an expensive city.
For some time I’d been wanting an outlet for myself to focus on publishing some images. Not because I thought I would receive any sort of external acclaim, but because I thought it would be a helpful thing to focus my mind on creating images that I could curate to some extent. I also saw it as an opportunity to go through some of my old images, sometimes appreciating them in ways I did not before, and reflecting how I want to improve my photography in the future. So I created this blog and also posted more frequently on my Instagram account. My aim initially was to post here at least once a week, and this I did not achieve, however I did find my use of these two platforms achieve my goal of becoming more focused on my photography.