New York on film, an unintended series of photographs, (and how they came to be). The nor’easter came back for round two so naturally I readied myself and my camera to hit the streets. I got home hours later, drenched to the bone and frozen. The next day I grabbed my camera, only to realise that it had seized up. The thing is, I had booked a room at the Life Hotel in the city so that I could be out shooting till late while being conveniently close to my bed. Except now I had the hotel room (which was amazing by the way), but no camera to shoot on. I also had borderline pneumonia from being out in the blizzard all day, but that’s not what this post is about.
Let’s rewind: On the day of the blizzard Liam had brought his Hasselblad 500c/m with for me to try out. I’ve always been a digital street photographer with film photography being largely secondary. It’s also important to note that on the occasions when I did shoot film it was 35mm SLRs. So Needless to say that adapting to 120mm was a massive learning curve, so much so that I missed focus on almost every shot on the first roll that I shot. With that said, I loved how exciting it was to shoot on a camera that was so foreign to me.
So off we went to get more film. We selected three rolls of film from K&M: Tri-X, TMAX and Acros. For the next two days, the Hasselblad (which was meant to be a secondary ‘for fun’ body to use became my primary camera. Liam (with a lot of patience) taught me some tricks with the focus, and pushed me to get closer to the subject than I usually would when shooting digital. I loved the thrill of it all, setting up a shot, watching the world flipped awkwardly through the viewfinder. Moving with my body, not my arms, and becoming more in tune with the changes in the light than I thought I was able to. I realised then, more than ever, how lazy I have become with shooting digital. Relying so much on an internal light meter vs having to continuously be aware of the slightest changes and adjusting your camera accordingly.
After every day Liam would take the rolls that I shot, tuck them into his jacket pocket and take them home to develop.
This was an unintended series, one which I had no idea I would be shooting before I arrived in the city. It came to fruition by means of some bad luck and the sheer generosity of a new friend. I must admit that I have fallen for medium format. But more importantly, I’m elated to have had the opportunity to see New York through a completely different lens.
My skill with medium format / film still leaves a lot to be desired, but it was more fun than I ever imagined. The biggest shout out to Liam for everything – all the processing was done by him! If you don’t already follow him on Instagram you really should! Or you can find him on VSCO.(I did adjust contrast ever so slightly)