We were rummaging through one of the studio refrigerators recently and found a number of rolls of film of various ages- with expiration dates of 1989, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003. These are the dates that the film was no longer within normal life expectancy, so they are even a few years older than the dates stamped on them. It was, no doubt, time to place a few of these vintage pieces on the shelves of the studio prop wall- home of many of the more interesting vintage objects that I have acquired over the past 40 years.
Each of these ensembles has a story. Briefly…
The Hasselblad 500cm shell came from one of my camera bodies after the shell had to be replaced- a piece of it had literally worn out! The Kodak T-Max 100 and Tri-X 120 films were probably the most used stocks in the studio for black and white photography (4X5 Plus-X was pretty well used too!).
The Kodak Retina came from my mom’s husband David Richmond- an avid amateur photographer. I was a passionate user of infrared film, mostly black and white, for several years. Like most artist photographers this was not for scientific reasons. The warm glow (which is actually caused by the type of base that the emulsion is attached to) of the film, that appears to be more sensitive to heat than it is to light, is seductive, to say the least.
The Yashica 44 is one of two twin lens cameras in the collection- both originally belonged to my dad, who was a pro/am photographer in his retirement. This particular piece is one that he probably purchased in the 1950′s or early 1960′s. The film (127/ 4X4) is an odd size, in between 35mm and 120/6X6. I purchased a brick of the film (20 rolls) in the mid 1980′s when I heard that it was going to go out of production.
We still keep a film camera in our arsenal of working equipment- it’s a Deardorff 4X5 special. I use this outfit occasionally for black and white landscape photography, especially for my ongoing Lake View Cemetery book project.