Southbank Skatepark

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Coming from the south, London for me starts at Waterloo station and spreads across the Thames into the city. The river is central, and I love Southbank. One of the things I like about it is under threat, though. The world famous skate park is under plans for ‘development’, which basically means that something organic, community based and meaningful will be ripped out and replaced by more coffee shops.

If, like this chap, you don’t like that idea, you can sign the petition. Don’t know if it will help, but it can’t hurt.

Autosave-Fivom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

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crabbing

When I was a kid we took a lot of family holidays in Devon. Cream teas, sandy beaches, fish and chips, Beano summer specials and, maybe best of all, crabbing. The idea is very simple. Find a pier or jetty, tie a piece of bacon to a line and hang it over the edge. Wait a while, then bring it up slowly. With luck and patience you’ll have a crab hanging off the end. Chuck it in the bucket with the others and go back to step one.

We went to Manor Park for the crabbing, and The Jolly Sailor for lunch. Good day out.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

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the last photograph

the last photograph

I think that this is probably the last photograph ever to be taken with a Fuji Fotorama Slimace camera, anywhere in the world. The film was discontinued in June 2010, but I kept a few packs in the fridge. Instant film never ages well, so I thought I’d better use it now rather than leave it too long and let it die.

It’s not all bad. These films had a very different feel to the Polaroid equivalents, and that has been carried over to the Instax series. You can never second guess Fujifilm, of course, as they are liable to slaughter a well-loved film without notice. However it does appear that, in Japan certainly, the Instax Mini is being pushed pretty hard. You can pick up a pack of film next to the disposable cameras in just about any convenience store here.

What is sad is that the camera I found in the back of a cupboard at my Mother-in-Law’s house is now a brick. Easy come, easy go…..

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things to do with slide film, while you still can

I wish I knew now what kind of camera my dad actually had. I know it came in a brown case, and had a chrome body. It must of been an SLR of some kind, and dates back to the mid 1960′s. whatever it was, it’s long gone now….but I do have a few of the photos taken with it. Like most amateur photographers of the pre-digital age, the camera only seemed to come out on special occasions; weddings, trips to the beach, parties, family gatherings.

Mum and Dad circa 1967

The other thing I remember is the little viewer that my dad had. It was a small box with a slot in the top for the mounted slides. As you pushed them in the pressure would trigger a light, and suddenly the picture would spring to life in glorious Kodacolor.

Beautiful, isn’t it? And very sad that it’s a dying format. Really, there is no getting away from it, no sugar coating it, slide film will be totally gone within the next few years. Kodachrome was much beloved, but that didn’t save it. Now Kodak has killed the entire line – not one colour reversal remains. Fuji are still producing a few, but they are getting ridiculously expensive. Still, every once in a while they take one out behind the barn and shoot it unceramoniously in the back of the head.

The reason I miss slide film, though, is not for it’s luminosity, it’s colour reproduction or it’s fine, smooth grain. To be honest, I think I’ve only shot about a dozen rolls of slide film for that in my life. I just find it too hard to meter correctly, too sensitive, and I don’t think it really suits my style. I have a couple of pictures I value, but not many more.

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Both with a glass lens Holga, incidentally.

No, what I’ll miss about slide film is the cross-processing. Sacrilege, isn’t it? That gorgeous film dragged through the wrong chemicals to produce some kind of proto-instagram crap. Well, maybe. But don’t worry, you won’t be seeing it for much longer. In fact, I may well just have xpro’d my last roll of film.

The classic xpro look, the lomokev style, came from Agfa Precisa CT. Agfa are gone, with all their emulsions – what you see now branded as Agfa are just rebadged Fuji. And Fuji does not cross-process well at all.

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I mean it’s interesting in it’s own way, but 36 neon pink or sickly green frames gets tired pretty fast. Crossprocessed Precisa, however, was still brash, but in a much more balanced and appealing way. Colours shifted rather than transformed completely. Grain was enhanced but not overpowering. Sometimes it was even subtle.

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For a while, the Kodak films filled the gap. A little more punchy, a little more erratic, but still fun.

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Now that’s gone too. So, down to my last roll, what’s the best thing to do? Intercontinental double exposure, cross processed, through a Lomo LCA? Of course!

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I think I’ve got closure, and now I can move on.

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a day at the zoo

A long time ago, when Polaroid still made the film, a very nice lady from the internet gifted me a Spectra camera. Recently, she found some leftover packs of film, and sent them along too. Now, in the world of film some films age better than others. All films slow down a bit, and some get grainier. The colours tend to become muted over time. Polaroid films are especially prone to senility though. It can be rather charming, but however the photos turn out its always a delight to see them emerge from the front of the camera and slowly develop.

These have been colour corrected a little in scanning. I just cooled them down a bit. We had a nice day at the zoo.

Scan 19

Scan 18

Scan 17

Scan 16

Scan 3

Scan 2

Scan 1

Scan

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