Encouraging you to dive head first into the forgotten world of cameras with film.
Perhaps, lying forgotten in a drawer, you have a roll of 24-exposure film. Chances are you have never thought about using it, and why would you, in an age where the rise of the digital camera has made it effortless to successfully snap a night out or a family holiday. However, that film could hold the potential to capture the best photographs you ever will, with more staying power than those held in a folder somewhere on your laptop. Analogue photography is a fast-disintegrating practice, as many people simply do not know how easy it is to achieve extraordinary photographs that will truly last a lifetime.
Finding a cheap film camera is easy; have a scout on eBay. An excellent beginner’s camera is the iconic Olympus Trip 35, easily available below £10 online, but if you spot one at a boot fair it could be as little as £2. A more advanced user could go for the Canon AE1, costing around the £50 mark and including more settings to commandeer. User manuals for both these and many others are freely available online. Next for the film – a useful tip is to go expired. Expired film comes in around a third of the price, and if it has not been wet or damaged you shouldn’t notice any degradation in the image quality. Flashes are optional, but are out there to be purchased again for under £10, if you want to shoot at night.
After this economical start-up, you are ready to use the camera. The beauty of many, like the Olympus Trip, is that it does not use a battery: the camera just needs film and it’s ready to go. Take it everywhere, choose interesting places and friends, and fill up that roll of film. Be impulsive – the instantaneous shutter means you can catch people unawares and naturally posed. Also be aware of your film roll – photos are not unlimited, forcing you to choose subjects wisely and shoot carefully. The only necessities are strong light and decent framing, so when holding the camera up, retro-style, don’t forget to look through the viewfinder and find your subject.
Truly one of the greatest feelings in the world is getting a stack of photographs back from the developers. This can be done in several retailers for as little as £4, working out around 15p per photo. The mystery of what your envelope contains is immeasurably exciting, and results are, more often than not, truly amazing. If you have taken your photos in enough light, even as an amateur you should achieve stunning contrast, bright colours and overall a perfectly encapsulated memory. Sometimes things can go wrong, but then it gets even more interesting – a roll of photos in unintended sepia tint, or a double exposure. Analogue photos have that nostalgic feel to them, and you can both scan them in to Facebook, and put them in real-life albums to place on your kitchen table for visitors to flick through.
Don’t let the beauty of film photography die with this generation, record your memories and imagine yourself on www.myparentswereawesome.com in thirty years’ time.