At the beginning of this year, I decided to make a conceited effort to shoot more on film. Specifically 35mm. I’ve had my Canon AE-1 for a few years and have used it relatively sparingly. Rolls of film would be developed, and I’d go through the images which often captured little fleeting moments, often months apart. Several photos were taken so long ago, of things so abstract, I couldn’t even recognise where or when they were shot.
I was going to shoot a roll of film every month, and call the final collection 1935: 35mm, shot in 2019. As you can probably gather by the way I’m referring to it, I never saw it through, and whilst I write this it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge a great opportunity squandered.
It’s not all bad though. The main reason behind not completing this task was because I simply got too busy with other projects. Be it international photoshoots with work, to brand commissions, to completing and releasing my debut album. Working with often restrictive and tight deadlines, I just couldn’t do with lugging my relatively heavy film camera everywhere I went.
In August, I found my schedule easing up - as it often does around summer - and the dusty film camera sitting on a shelf in the corner part of our apartment caught my eye. I decided to finish off the 10 remaining exposures in its current film, and get the next roll ready for my trip to India. And man, I cannot reiterate how good it felt to shoot on an older format after so long.
The beauty of film is that you’re leaving a lot down to chance. There’s only so much you can learn and apply. The fact that you can’t see the result of what you captured there and then is both nerve-wracking and invigorating. It gets you physically excited about the art form. As soon as I finished the first roll, I couldn’t wait to get on the plane and try to capture India with the same vigour. It would be interesting, I thought just prior to boarding, to see how the colours, atmosphere and intensity of India could be portrayed on film. There were, inevitably, a lot of duds when I got the final results back, but the majority exceeded my expectations, and surprisingly so. Take a look below and let me know what you think.
After the trip to India, I had a handful of exposures left so I took it along with me to the shoot for my upcoming music video, Right There, starring Marie Clavel, filmed by Lydia Collins. Here are some of the behind-the-scenes shots.
There’s something so pure about original formats that capture a hidden warmth and emotion otherwise difficult to achieve digitally. I can’t wait to shoot the next roll, wherever and whenever that may be.
All images shot on Canon AE-1, using Fujifilm Superia 200 film.
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