Showing posts with label Shooting On Film. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shooting On Film. Show all posts

Nov 7, 2012

AGC Pronto Folding Camera

In addition to the records that I was all too happy to have, one of the treasures that I was fortunate to inherit from my Grandma was this vintage folding camera with an AGC Pronto shutter.  One of the interesting things that I learnt about many of these vintage folding cameras was that the body itself often wasn't branded.  They were promoted by the retailers who sold them, so it could have been a Sears folding camera or something along those lines.

This camera has no markings or details other than the Pronto shutter, which was manufactured by AGC (Alfred Gauthier Calmbach) in Germany.  Going purely by visual details it seems that the shutter was made sometime after 1948, and the family photographs from the mid to late 1950s seem to appropriately date the camera.

Not surprisingly, my Grandma shot pictures of her kids using this folding camera.  Just holding it makes the memories seem tangible and close.  It's really what I love about old cameras in general, you feel a connection to all of the things it must have seen, the places it was taken, and the people who used it.  My dad was her youngest child and is the guy on the right in the image above from 1959. 

The lens and shutter are in particularly nice shape, given that they were kept inside the folding case for decades.  However, the body is noticeably well worn.  This folding camera was never particularly valuable, it's just been made more interesting by time. The mechanical nature of it all, the hinges, the simple springs, etc. are all very cool to see up close.  It's a beautiful piece of memorabilia, and obviously for me, it's meaningful because of the family connection and the pictures that were taken with it.  I'm very happy to have this memento from my Grandma's life.         

Aug 14, 2012

Minolta XE-5 Camera

My dad has always had a casual interest in photography.  Not so much on an artistic level exactly, but more so in a playful "I'm just going to shoot and see what happens" kind of way.  Traditions like our annual family picture in Police Point Park or the random images that I've seen him take on holiday seem related to this endeavor.  All things considered, in the mid-1970s he felt motivated to buy this relatively expensive Minolta XE-5 camera to pursue this hobby. 

I recently adopted the camera as a decoration, but aside from needing new batteries it still works.  That was actually the reason my dad had for retiring it.  The camera had no auto-off and if you left it on the two small watch-type batteries would run out.  They were costly to replace, and frankly, they still are.  It's a good looking camera though, and there's a part of me that's tempted to buy the batteries and film and test it out. Maybe one of these days I'll actually do it, but I feel like I need a special project to make the effort worth it.  Digital is too convenient, and it's spoiled us all. 

May 3, 2012

Silent City (2003)

For nearly a decade this project sat in a box full of my old film school reels, and to be honest, no one was missing much.  It was perhaps the very first thing my friend Dave and I ever shot on film, outside of a few tests maybe.  At the very least it was the first assignment in the film program that required us to shoot and edit on 16mm.

What makes Silent City worth sharing is more than just the few seconds of grainy footage that we managed to capture.  It isn't that there was some profound message behind our shots or that we had any intent of creating something epic to document how brilliant we were (although I wouldn't doubt that such things were said in jest at the time).  The film was simply a start.  It was a beginning to our film school careers, and in an unexpected and far more symbolic sense, it played a role as one of the ways that I said goodbye to Dave when he passed away last year.  

The project was shot on an afternoon in Regina that consisted of us driving around downtown, Wascana park, and the university campus and randomly pointing the Bolex camera at things.  As technical as I'm sure that sounds, I don't remember either of us being too concerned with what we shot, just as long as something actually developed when we got our film back.

The one scene that we actually put some thought into took place in Wascana park.  It consisted of me shooting Dave as he walked across to the left side of the frame and then overexposing the shot as he walked back again.  The idea, and how it ended up in the finished reel, is that we would cut the two shots together to contrast the exposures and motion between the takes.  The result was like a ghostly apparition of Dave crossing paths with himself.   

I really hadn't given the project much thought until Dave's passing in September 2011. Dave's girlfriend, Wendy asked me if I'd like to place anything in his casket and I suddenly felt there was a reason to dig out the reel again.  I still had the envelope of raw 16mm clips that we'd spliced from this project when we had edited it on the giant Steenbeck late one night.  After careful consideration I thought that nothing would be more fitting than to leave him with one of the first creative ventures we had shared in film school together.  He'd have a piece of it, and I'd have the finished reel to remember what we made.

Up until February 2012, when I purchased myself a vintage 16mm projector, I still hadn't seen this project since we shot it back in 2003.  I honestly didn't know what to expect, but the reality behind what had happened in just the last few months made each frame a bit more memorable, and even a bit haunting.  It wasn't like watching a home video, the cold shots of the city and of Dave walking just seemed to echo a lot of the sadness behind losing a friend whom I'd shared so many memories like this with.

The reel of Silent City is simplistic, direct, and little more than a 16mm film test.  And yet, it's become a project that I'll never forget or view the same way ever again.  

Apr 2, 2012

Urban Photography 2

As a long overdue follow-up to my first urban photography post, I found a few more of the original images that I shot on film during the summer of 2003.  This is a brief sampling of shots taken between Medicine Hat and Calgary, Alberta.