The time was Spring of 2018. The place was Sarajevo. The city where I studied for 3 years. A city full of art, Yugoslavian rock’n’roll capital city, theaters every here and there, called European Jerusalem and reportedly a place where the 1st World War was ignited by assassination of the then Austro-Hungarian heir prince. All in all, the place where my senses for the beautiful, meaningful, characteristical, personal touch of creativity developed. But, not in photography.
Not until one day when with my friends we decided to go on a hike to the nearby mountain and one of them said that her new roommate and a new expat in Sarajevo will join us. She came. And she came with her heavy, irony, memoryless, batteryless and maybe with some more negative features, but with one positive: the machine was using 35mm film. Luckily, I somehow controlled myself not to mock someone using a single-function device. And I felt great about that soon after. The moment I saw the results of her struggle during the hike, left me in awe, made me difficult to convince myself that the photos I am looking at are, yes, from the technology that I used and saw probably some 20 years ago. The quaint appearance of the photos provoked me, riddled me, their soulful look made me feel like I am soulless.
Not too late after that I found my family’s old, forgotten, left to perish for all eternity Zenit model ET with Helios 44-2 f2/58mm. And then I asked her out for a film camera usage instruction date. A day full of exposure, aperture, focus, ISOs, lens’ mm, shutter speed, expired film, etc. and I ended up in total confusion. A confusion that I was determined to solve. Thankfully to numerous dedicated websites, YouTube tutorials, 10-15 out of 36 successful exposures with the first 2-3 films, I started to navigate the film photography ocean with more confidence when I moved to Istanbul last summer and had met some local enthusiasts, exchanging info, knowledge, tricks, places, ideas. It was almost impossible for me not to admire shooting on film historical buildings and people in the moment of their fullest concentration point, the moment they’re dedicated to their work. Kids and their playful faces, the moment you point your camera at them and they immediately strike a pose.
One of my colleagues asked me why I use a film camera and not digital: “I am addicted to the sound when I push the shutter!”, however that strange could be. I like the realistic colors, I don’t like plastic from digital. I like engaging with the weather forecast, so I would choose the film respectively. I started to like the darkness of the night because I can grab the FujiSuperia800Venus and insert light on it. And now, almost two years after my first encounter with a film camera, I have two cameras: the aforementioned and Praktica L, equipped with two more lenses: Tokina/Vivitar f2.8/35mm and AutoBeroflex f2/200mm. And seeing like no chance to stop here.
Eager to see more of my clicks? Navigate yourself to my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/film. gramer/
Pictures: Vladimir Jovanovski
Featured image by Mitchell Hollander on Unsplash