The Film Pharaoh
#3 – Three Pentax K1000 Shots – 2010
I couldn’t decide on which photos to choose from for to represent my K1000. This old beauty of a camera, given to me by next door neighbour so I could take Photography 11 at my high school, is probably my favourite body and the one that challenges me the most. Because it was my first ‘real’ camera I am wary of using it. I always feel it is underexposed, so I fight for light, fight for crisp focus, and fight the bright multi-coloured neck strap which doesn’t quite fit me. Nevertheless, it is a beauty and I will cherish it forever, even if I don’t use it too often.
The three photos I selected represent some of my favourite black and white shots. The island photo was taken from East Sooke Park looking out towards what I believe is Secretary (Donaldson) Island – at least that’s what my Google maps estimation is… This was taken while on a hike with a friend in the Spring of 2010 or possibly even Fall of 2009. I like the way the island stands out from the foggy background and I think it shows off the West Coast landscape quite well. It has also had sentimental value for a variety of different scenarios and even with that branch not cropped out I think it looks great.
After taking that photo I left the camera sit on a shelf for a long time. When I picked it up again it was for the Freedom of the City march which took place in downtown Victoria to celebrate the Canadian Navy’s 100th anniversary. The largest contingent of military was on hand and a special Freedom of the City was declared to allow them to march. The photos I chose show the depth of field control that the Pentax 50mm lens has, the military formations providing excellent subjects, and the boots marching providing a cool chance to show movement with an extended shutter speed. I like these because I am proud of what the Navy has done and I always love a good parade.
These three photos were taken on Kodak 400CN Black and White negative film.
#4 – Marie-Eve in Reflection – Summer 2011, Dacora Dignette, Fuji Superia 200 (35mm)
This shot is perhaps my favourite film portrait of all time. This is my supervisor from my Co-op term in France when I worked at the Juno Beach Centre. I had just travelled to Honfleur, partway with my landlord Philippe who owns an antique shop. At his store I bought a Dacora Dignette, a West German viewfinder camera now a half-century old. With a very scratched lens and a shutter mechanism I wasn’t sure was working (and later a rewind I didn’t know how to work), I was wary of buying it, but for ten Euros it seemed like a fun chance to try something new. I shot one roll on the camera, mostly indoors in low light, with film that was probably expired, yet it turned out some wonderfully warm images and the ones taken outside were horrible.
The scratched lens and imprecise focus ring made this shot very dreamy and soft-focus, just a like a Lomography camera. I caught Marie-Eve at one of our dinner parties the night I bought the camera, deep in thought, framed by Philippe on the right and Pascal, our Haligonian expat friend, on the left. I happened to look up in between conversations with an Acadian friend to my right and quickly snapped a shot without alerting her to what I was doing. Lucky shot.
Who knows what she was thinking, but I’m guessing it was of her children and husband who live almost 1,000 kilometres away in Andora. We were lucky enough to meet them when they came for a visit and to look for work later in the summer, but I’m not sure if they managed to make the move after I left or not. Fingers crossed for her and them.
The richness of the reds and oranges in this frame really speak to the story of our dinner party. Our little French house is a few centuries old and had some horrible lighting in the living room. We crammed an extra patio table through our window to seat our guests and had our bare ceiling light bulb and the one working standing lamp set to max just to see what we were eating. Our dinner parties lasted for hours, talking about Canada, France, travelling, history, even hockey – Philippe played on a team in neighbouring Caen – and many bottles of Normandy cider were finished by the time people made their ways home. I picked this photo to remind me of my great time in France and how much I miss those summer nights.
#5 – London Eye – Summer 2011, Diana Mini, Fuji Velvia (35mm)
One of the last shots I took on my now-deceased Diana Mini was of the London Eye Ferris Wheel during my last weekend in Europe. Before boarding the train to head back to Paris and fly home I strolled along the South Bank of the Thames and took in the amazing London culture. Shortly after this picture, as I crossed Millennium Bridge, my rewind broke and I heard the film rip. Luckily it was just the sprocket holes and I was a few stops by Tube away from the Lomography Soho store. Into the dark bag, pop off the back door, and it all clicked back into place and the film was saved. I haven’t used the Mini since.
The London Eye is an amazing structure. 38 minutes to make one revolution it stands about the Thames as a feat of engineering, and a feat of tourist entrapment. I didn’t go around, although I wanted to, not just because it would have cost me 20 Pounds as a student, but because there was a three hour wait as well! Strolling the shores of the river was much more rewarding, and much better for my last film shots in Europe.
I like this photo in particular because it looks similar to shots of the moon coming out from behind the clouds. Instead of the typical full-circle photo taken from across the river, I remember walking backwards five steps to make sure the tree was in frame and moving the camera just ever so slightly away to the right to not centre it in the frame. The vignette, something I struggle to achieve in most of my Lomography shots for some reason, matches perfectly with the curve of the wheel and it feels like I finally planned a shot that worked out.
There are so many more photos that I could have picked and that I want to share with you. I still want to talk about my ActionSampler and my Diana with it’s 35mm back which makes great photos, or even how I managed one more roll of dance party photos out of my resurrected Mini but I know I already cheated by placing three in my K1000 selection. I could have picked some great colour prints from a Yashica C which show amazing depth of field, it could have been beach double exposures from Bordeaux or boat trips in Victoria, or the rows on rows of headstones at the war cemeteries in Normandy. There are so many stories that go with photos, and even more that go with Lomographs that it is hard to pick so few. I know the next 500 will be very interesting because I already have some negatives ready to scan in and upload. Diana panoramas, homemade pinholes, and a Holga workshop that might blow your mind and mine! But those will have to wait until the next 500 are up.
In the meantime, please keep checking out my photos on Lomography and if you like the carefree lifestyle that analogue photography brings, or you like the look of the stylish cameras, or you just want to be like me then get yourself a camera. They’re cheap, replaceable, collectible, delectable and everything in between.
Who knows, maybe I’ll see you out there. Just look for the guy dressed like a Pharaoh……
To see all my Lomographs, click here.
To read The Film Pharaoh Part 1 again, click here.