In my previous post today, I mentioned that for my birthday which we celebrated in Lisbon, Agnieszka surprised me with an Analog Worksop where we not only learn a bit about how to shoot and settings, etc, but that we would actually develop the roll of film that day and leave with the negatives! I was very surprised and also just a little excited about this event. Now I know why she insisted that we bring along the Nikon FM2….so cool!
The workshop is part of the AirBnB experience program and this one was hosted by Stefan,(check out his instagram) an accomplished film shooter who also has his own darkroom. His b/w Analogue Photography Workshop started in the morning and we met at the Jardim da Cerca da Graça park overlooking the city. Beautiful spot. Introductions were made and the lesson began promptly and took his time to understand each of our own experience levels and catered to our needs very well.
Soon we were on the street with a fresh roll of film to burn. We had the Nikon FM2 and Stefan had also brought an old Olympus for Agnieszka to use. Brushing up on the “Sunny 16” rule with him we set out to play. No instructions as to what to shoot, that was entirely up to us, but he directed us to a really cool neighborhood close by to do some street work. We shot for an hour or so and then took in a delicious lunch at a nearby spot recommended and after with a few frames still left to burn we started to casually head back to his place to develop.
The developing stage was super intimidating to me since I had not done this before I didnt want to blow he roll of film! But Stefan was really informative and helped us along the process with kid gloves on very well. Well enough for me to be considering finding a spot here in Warsaw where I can develop my own film again at some point! I am pretty hooked after getting a chance to do it alone and have a better understanding of the work. The process is far from easy and it reminds me of baking (which I have done a lot of), follow the recipe and get results, deviate and get different results. Alter ingredients and the recipe, time and method, get very different results. Simplified, but you get the drift.
All said and done we got to see the work in the negatives and to my surprise, the images were actually exposed really well. I was worried I might make a ton of errors, but really his instruction was excellent and we stuck to the process. Having used digital for so long, the actual shooting was a little difficult at first because normally I can just shoot frames and not worry about it. But with film, I really had to consider the subject, the focus and the exposure…and then make the shot. After a few frames I was really into it and liked the slower, thoughtful aspect of shooting.
In a previous post I had mentioned that my camera broke. Actually two cameras broke on this trip and you can read about that here “Dilemma in Lisbon“. It was during the removal of the roll of film from the FM2 when the camera broke. The frame advance lever simply came right out, BUT the roll of film was saved and no issues there. Currently the FM2 is getting repaired and I just today I was informed that it should be back soon. Yes!
Once back in Warsaw I took the negatives to Czarno Biale to be worked up and prints made. Before the trip to Portugal, I had also on a whim picked up a disposable FujiFilm camera and toted that with me occasionally snapping pics along the way, completing my role as tourist. So I also dropped of that roll of film. And then waited…..perhaps the hardest part is this part. But also pretty gratifying.
In a few days I was back in the store picking up the prints and recalling feelings of high school again as this was a very common occurence at that time. The last time I dropped off film to be handled was possibly at Costco back in the States around the year 2002….man, time flies. I love the familiar feelings of anxiety and anticipation I felt boiling up in my chest as I left the store excited to see the results once home.
Taking the prints our and starting to look I was pleased to see that the prints were fantastic. I loved the grain and the contrasty nature of it. I could see that my style of image making hadn’t changed and the subjects I chose to shoot were also familiar. I had forgotten a bunch of the shots I took so I was really charged to see them and to have them as tangible objects in my hands and. Fantastic!
All in all, a fantastic experience, a wonderful and memorable birthday present that gave me the gift of something tangible which is somethign that I have been really leaning more and more towards. Tangible. This was a lot of fun and I reallly couldnt recommend it more. Anyway…here are the images and I hope you enjoy them. I have my favorites…what are yours?