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Old School x100s

My Old School x100s - Yashica Electro 35 GSN

I rarely develop gear lust, but I have been obsessing about the superb Fuji x100s for some time now. I mean what is not to love; retro design, fixed lens, stealthy rangefinder like operation. Although it is no rangefinder, I am sure Henri Cartier-Bresson would have loved shooting a bit of street with the x100s.

I have made peace with the fact that the x100s retails for an arm and a leg, a bit ridiculous for a ‘backup’ camera. I have decided to go all old school again. My last Yashica Rangefinder, the Minister D died on me a couple of months ago, but I have had my eye on the Yashica Electro 35 GSN; a cult classic among some die-hard film shooters. It has the looks, great light meter and a decent piece of glass. After finding a replacement for the now discontinued mercury battery, the electronics and camera mechanisms are all in working order. Another gem added to my vast growing analogue camera collection. I will post some images once I develop and scan a few rolls. I can already smell the fixer…

The Black Box

Holga 120 CFN shot on Ilford FP4 Plus film. Processed with Ilford Ilfotec HC.

Considering this being my very first blog post, I feel it would be somewhat fitting to talk about what rekindled my passion for photography. Now I know what you are thinking and no, it is not a new piece of glass or some über retouching technique. It was much more simplistic than that. It involved a black box and some light sensitive emulsion…

Late 2009 I found myself in a creative rut. Fortunately, part of my studies involved quite a lot of large format film photography. Oh, how I relished the opportunity to pop inside that small, crammed cubical to process a few rolls. A typical visit to the dark room is usually accompanied by a fair amount of foul language and mostly ended with me on all fours; fumbling around in complete darkness trying to locate my dropped- and now scratched film. I can still remember my first print appearing from the developing tank, and the nervous excitement of processing a fresh roll of Ilford FP4 Plus 120 Black & White film, not knowing if anything will come out or if I mixed the chemicals correctly.

That was it. Somehow, the limitation of the equipment and simplicity of the black box made it all clear.  I started collecting medium format cameras, all in working order of course. There is nothing more satisfying than cranking the film advance and firing the obnoxiously loud shutter, “clunk”, ahhhh yes bliss. Film has taught me that creativity comes when you distance yourself form the clutter of the latest equipment, focal length choices, lighting setups and post processing. The slow contemplated process allowed me to focus on what mattered, the craft. What are you waiting for, load up a roll and get inspired.