Something … (City on film series)

There is “something” in photos taken with a 35mm film or a medium format film camera, that is unique, at least for me. In this case I used the Zenit camera from 1980 that I talked about in the previous post. It was winter 2016, my first one in New York City – my hometown now. I loaded the camera with expired Kodak T-MAX 400 film. The Zenit EM is bulky and heavy, so it is not easy to handle it once you put a Mamiya-Sekor 200 mm prime lens on it. I remembered I thought the pictures were doomed to an inevitable bad end, not only because the film was expired, but especially because the camera got stuck multiple times (maybe the cold weather), making it very difficult to slide to the next frame.

The scenes are from Brooklyn and Coney Island. The one with The Statue of Liberty, I frankly do not recall the place I shot it from, probably Lower Manhattan.

One of the things I liked most was to develop films by myself. It was one of the very few interesting pleasures of living in Orlando, Florida. There we rented a relatively spacious apartment and I made use of the bathroom as a dark room. But now, one of the few downsides of New York City for people that are not rich or earn a lot of money, is the cost of the living space. Gentrification makes you feel like a prisoner of voracious building owners and you and your family end up living in a tiny, tight, place with no space for a dark room, obviously. Therefore, I sent my rolls to be developed and waited for the results. Looking at the photos, I perceived something that digital photography does not have.

It is sad to know we are probably witnessing the final days of certain kinds of film. Kodak T-MAX, along with others types, have had their particular “charm”, beauty and class. That something is a key part of its magic, at least for me.


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