I found an old 35mm camera in the attic of our house – I bought a battery and rewound the film that was in it.
These images are of a Rodeo I went to in Cuba (1999) – the vaqueros pictured were the ones I had the privilege to ride up and across the hills around Viñales with (a small town and municipality in the north-central Pinar del Río Province of Cuba). These are the same people I drank rum with at 6 0?clock in the morning and the ones who carried me to my bed at 1 o’clock in the morning.
This arena was part of a complex (by a lake) where Castro’s stallions were kept and a cock fighting ring was situated – surrounded by small pens where the finest Mexican fighting cocks were pampered and preened. The entrance to the whole complex was maned by well armed guards.
I recently went down to Paignton in South Devon to see me my old mate Garry – we had a splendid day drinking at a Beer Festival and managed to take some decent photographs of Paignton Pier with an old Pentax Espio 120mi. This is point-and-shoot, mid-range, 35mm film camera. The Espio is an autofocus unit with automatic exposure settings and a built in flash unit.
One of the most useful applications available on this model is ‘backlight compensation’ setting, which enables you to take a photograph using natural light in the background and flash in the foreground, giving an even tone across the image. Panorama mode is included in this little package which gives a different aspect ratio from most other cameras.
Still life painting is something that I have grown into and I am inspired, not by the great masters like, Caravaggio who applied his form of naturalism to still life, but photographs.
Using the camera to – set the composition, the precise aspect ratio, depth of field, the distance – is a great tool. I then use these images in conjunction with the real observed objects.
The photograph above was taken using a Pentax Espio 120mi, which I obtained from a charity shop for £1.50. I used Ilford HP5 Plus a 35mm black and white film. More on HP5 here?
The quality of point and shoot 35mm film cameras is rather poor if you compare them to modern digital SLRs but…
The warm quality and retro feel of the images are perfect for my paintings.
The Pentax Espio 120mi is point-and-shoot, mid-range, 35mm film camera (also called a compact camera) and is a still camera designed for simplicity. The Espio is an autofocus unit, having automatic exposure settings options and a built in flash unit.
Design initiatives make this a small and flexible camera – notably the physical size and overall quality of finish make this camera a stylish baby. It houses a good quality zoom lens (38-120mm), with plenty of features that enable a variety of picture taking settings.
The focus and exposure system on this easy to use camera is an improvement on earlier Pentax compacts, giving sharp results and a decent contrast of tones. One of the most useful applications available on this model is ‘backlight compensation’ setting, which enables you to take a photograph using natural light in the background and flash in the foreground, giving an even tone across the image. Panorama mode is included in this little package which gives a different aspect ratio from most other cameras.
Caravaggio‘s Basket of Fruit (c. 1595–1600) is one of the first examples of -pure still life, precisely rendered and set at eye level.
My rummaging around in junk shops sometimes reaps great rewards. On my recent hunting expedition I found an Olympus Trip 35, another film camera I was searching for.
The Trip 35 is a 35mm compact camera, manufactured by Olympus. It was introduced in 1967 and discontinued, after a lengthy production run, in 1984. This camera makes use of a selenium photocell to select the shutter speeds and aperture let novices use the camera as a “point & shoot”, unfortunately this does not work on mine.
The Trip name was a reference to its intended market – people who wanted a compact, functional camera for holidays. During the 1970s it was the subject of an advertising campaign that featured popular British photographer David Bailey. Over ten million units were sold.
Image above taken with a Pentax Spotmatic 35mm Camera – August 2012.
Here is another photograph taken with vintage Pentax camera I purchased of ebay on the 15th July 2012. The Pentax Spotmatic takes M42 screw-thread lenses and was introduced by Asahi in 1964, it was the first SLR … Continue reading ?
This image was taken with another vintage Pentax camera that I purchased of ebay on the 15th July 2012. The Pentax Spotmatic takes M42 screw-thread lenses and was introduced by Asahi in 1964, it was the first SLR camera to sell well with a through-the-lens (TTL) exposure metering system. The light meter is activated by pushing a small switch (which is on the left side of the lens housing) upwards.
This gallery contains 4 photos of my Pentax P30.
I have only recently acquired this Pentax P30 camera but I have had a great time using it. This is the camera I took to Lanzarote – I even managed to drop it onto a tiled floor without damaging it – I … Continue reading →
These images taken of Woolacombe were done using a Pentax SP1000 35mm camera. This camera was my father’s, who bought it from new in the 1970s. All Pentax Spotmatics (SP) use the M42 screw-thread lens mount. The lenses are focused at maximum aperture to give a bright viewfinder image for focusing, then a switch at the side stops the lens down and switches on the metering to enable the exposure to be set prior to shutter release.
I’m really getting into lens flare which is usually caused by a very bright light source, either affecting the image or shining into the lens, which produces a haze. I also like the slightly over cooked vintage feel of these images, scratches, dust, and fibre strands -35mm film is far more fun than digital.
The image above was taken in Ilfracombe – June 2012
Taking photographs with a film camera again reminded me of the simple pleasures I had messing about with making images in a darkroom – it is a shame I have become so uninspired.
There is something a bit odd now about not wanting my photographs instantly. The anticipation of developing them or collecting hard copies from a processing store is now exciting. The instant gratification of a digital image is somehow disappointing. Which is bizarre because 30 years ago I dreamed of instant quality.
I loaded the Pentax SP500 camera I got off eBay yesterday with a colour film (200 asa) and took a few shots in and around my home, experimenting with different lenses. The clearest shots were achieved with the original Takumar 1:2/55mm … Continue reading →
When the first Pentax Spotmatic was introduced to the public at the 1960 PHOTOKINA, photographic fair, in Cologne, Germany, it attracted the instant and close attention of photographers and photographic engineers alike.
The model range included the original Spotmatic, Spotmatic II and IIa, Spotmatic F, plus the SP500 and SP1000. There was also the Pentax SL, which was identical to the Spotmatic except that it did not have the built-in light meter
I have just bought and received via eBay a Pentax SP500 camera. I put a new battery into it and the internal light meter worked straight away. Unlike the Pentax K1000 you need to switch the light meter on using a sliding switch on the front of the body.
The film is loaded and I have begun clicking away…
Pentax cameras of this era came with fantastic standard multi coated lenses. The one I purchased came with an original Takumar 1:2/55mm lens, a great lens that is flexible and precise.
- Photograph self portrait 1974 This was taken with a 35mm Pentax SLR in 1974 and manipulated in the darkroom in Stourbridge College of Art and Design. This reminds me of the simple pleasures I had messing about with making images – it is a … Continue reading →