This is the very first black and white film I have received for this project. I was extra excited for this one because I could develop it myself (I am looking into developing colour film at home but at the moment I can only do black & white) Until you have developed a film for yourself you don’t understand the (slightly nervous) thrill you get when you first pull it off of the spiral to see what has come out! When you are developing film you have shot yourself, you have some idea of how it will turn out, in terms of subject and exposure etc… But this was a complete mystery. (As a side note, the film itself came from a Boots disposable camera, I had no idea you could buy black and white disposables!)
I adore the aesthetic qualities of black and white film. I find that there is so much more drama and atmosphere than you find in a lot of colour photography. At least, I think it is easier to produce that feeling with black and white film. The use of flash produces quite a different effect too. With colour film, the flash (especially on a disposable camera) can look very harsh and I personally avoid it as far as I can with colour photography. However, black and white film shot with flash tends to produce photographs with a lot of contrast and sharp, dark shadows: very atmospheric!
Here are my favourites from this film, the rest of them can be found on Flickr
This is an example of a photograph that has been transformed by the flash. The man is obviously meant to be the subject of the image but my eye is drawn repeatedly to the glass and dish on the table. The flash has lit them alone and left the rest of the frame in relative darkness. The glass and dish immediately reminded me of the photograph ‘La Fourchette’ by Andre Kertesz, a hungarian photographer whose work I adore for it’s aesthetic quality. I highly recommend picking up one of his books for pure visual indulgence.
The depth of field in this shot is what made it catch my eye. Everything from the boat at the front to the waves all the way to the horizon is crisp. A wide depth of field is common in photographs taken with a disposable camera (more or less, if your subject is 4′ or more away, it’ll be in focus) but the level of detail, all the way to the mountains on the horizon, in this shot is quite exceptional. The exposure is excellent, rare in a camera with fixed shutter speed/ISO/aperture.
This photograph is more of the typical candid snapshot style than the others. I can’t decide whether I think this photograph was truly candid, or whether the subjects knew they were being photographed. The man looks like he is actively avoiding the camera but in other shots on the film he seems happy to be photographed. My overall impression is that it is a candid moment but it’s certainly open to interpretation.
This is one of those films that I wish I had just a little more detail about. The first 13 and the last 9 images all look to have been taken in the same place at the same time, containing all of the same people. But the shots in the middle are of a scuba-diving trip. I find it hard to piece together a narrative or story for this film. I’d love to hear any ideas or opinions in the comments!