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My Blog

…my developing love for film – blog #6
17 September 2013

Over the last year or so, I have been increasingly drawn to exploring film or analogue photography. Not, I hasten to add,  instead of digital – but in addition to – I tire of the arguments from the closed minded  among us that one is ‘better’, more ‘real’, has more ‘character’ and on and on. I think film and digital – and for that matter, smart phones – with all their various apps and holgas and lomos – are just different – there is room for all, and no real need to create some artificial hierarchy or photographic class structure.

Looking through my image library the other day, I thought it might be fun to pull together a number of the street images I have shot on film.

I am the first to admit that I am just starting out – still learning – not yet achieving too many ‘keepers’ – but I love the different approach – the slowing down – the different way images are rendered – the anticipation and waiting while the film is developed. I have had the good fortune to experiment with a number of film cameras including:

  • Nikon EM;
  • Olympus Pen F;
  • Nikon F90x;
  • Nikon FE2;
  • Voigtlander Bessa 4a;
  • Voigtlander Vito B;
  • Voigtlander Vito Automatic;
  • Hasselblad X-Pan ii; and
  • Leica M6 TTL

Some of these I have found at camera markets and secondhand shops, some have been loaned to me by great – and trusting – friends, some given to me, some I have wanted and hunted for, and some I have chased down for sentimental value – my father used a Voigtlander.  Some I have used once, put aside and  then come back to for the pure simple joy of using them like the Nikon EM – small and simple and quite acceptable image quality. Most are still working – a couple aren’t – I just found a replacement Nikon EM after my first – given to be my my photography mentor/friend – reached the end of its life, I bought a broken F90x to replace parts on my old, worn and down and out original version.

A number have been returned to their owners and some sold or traded on again, and of course, some I still have and continue to use and a couple I will never part with.

I find myself drifting towards the older, more basic cameras – manual focus, aperture, shutter speed and perhaps exposure compensation.

I really love the M6, but I am not a good enough photographer to do it justice yet. But that’s really what its all about isn’t it? Constantly working to improve your skills and capture moments and images that you witness or that are important to you.

So here they are – street images largely – no particular order – although it might be close to chronological.

Click on the image for a larger view.


FilmNikon EMNikkor 50/f1.8D Kodak GC 400

Shoe Repairs
Ridgeway Lane Melbourne
Nikon EM
Nikkor 50/f1.8D
Kodak GC 400

Spring Street Melbourne
Voigtlander Bessa 4A
Kodak TMax 400

Almost Abstract
Near Malthouse Theatre, Southbank Melbourne – public sculpture known as Yellow Peril
Voigtlander Bessa 4A
Kodak TMax 400

Collonade at GPO Melbourne
Voigtlander Bessa 4A
Kodak TMax 400

3in a lane
Melbourne Laneway
Leica M6 TTL
Kodak 400 TriX

Old taking New taking Melbourne
Federation Square looking across to Flinders Street Station
Leica M6 TTL
Kodak 400 TriX

Leica M6 TTLKodak 400 T-Max

Stairs – RMIT University Melbourne
Leica M6 TTLKodak 400 T-Max

La Belle Miette
Nikon FE2
Nikkor 50/f1.4 AI-s
Ilford Delta 100 Pro

Spring Sttreet Melbourne
Nikon FE 2Nikkor 50/f1.4 AI-s
Ilford Delta 100 Pro

South Yarra Station
Leica M6 TTLKodak 400 TriX

Swanston and Collins Street, Melbourne
Leica M6 TTLLeica Emar-M 24 f/3.8Kodak 400 T-Max

Flinders Lane Evening
Leica M6 TTLLeica Emar-M 24 f/3.8Kodak 400 T-Max

27 DeLacy 31
NikonEMNikkor 50/f1.8DKodak GC400

2 into 1
Nikon F90XNikkor 50/f1.8DIlford Delta 100 Pro

Nikon F90XNikkor 50/f1.8DIlford Delta 100 Pro

Federation Bells
Nikon F90XNikkor 50/f1.8DIlford Delta 100 Pro

Nikon FE2Nikkor 50/f1.4 AisKodak Tri X 400

Don’t let go
Nikon FE2Nikkor 50/f1.4 AisKodak Tri X 400

Analogue music
Nikon FE2Nikkor 50/f1.4 AisKodak Tri X 400

Nikon FE2 Nikkor 50/f1.4 AI-s
Ilford Delta 100 Pro

Spring Street Shadow
Nikon FE 2Nikkor 50/f1.4 AI-s
Ilford Delta 100 Pro

Exhibition Street Delivery
Voigtlander Bessa 4A
Kodak TMax 400

So there you – a little look at my early journey into film on the streets of Melbourne. Perhaps my next project should be to bring together some of the people shots and portraits.

That’s a task for another time.

…until next time….




Hi Bruce,
Great to see that you are embracing film photography. I’m not sure if you know that my first career was as a photographer, and my photography degree was completed in the negative and darkroom era, with ‘digital imaging’ offered as a new elective.

I could rabbit on for hours about the things I love and miss about photography but given that I don’t have hours spare just now, thought I would at least say hello, and that I enjoyed your post.

I still have some of my 35mm film cameras, my last one was a Nikon F100. Fixed lenses are my favourites as their quality is the best, and they really force you to work with the lens. I also loved my darkroom. Well actually, I had a love/hate relationship with my darkroom, often in the wee hours of the morning where you are so close, yet still so far on the perfect print and will ‘just do one more’…

If you like the unpredictability of shooting on film, then you might enjoy using a real Holga. They are cheap, unpredictable and often deliver beautiful results.


Author: Deb Symons   |   18 September 2013- 1:14 pm

    Hi Deb,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment – sounds like even more reason to catch up for a coffee?

    Reality is all cameras are just boxes and glass designed to capture light, and direct it onto some kind of treated surface. It is what the eye sees and the brain frames that matters – sure that you agree – you can take a great image on any form of camera

    Yes I still like digital and even iphones – but I also like film more and more.

    let me know re coffee


    Author: Bruce   |   18 September 2013- 2:51 pm

I too love film. In fact just last week I was looking to get back into it via a Hasselblad on eBay. I used to have a 500CM and miss it now – a lot. A surprisingly ergonomic and highly manoeuvrable camera. I spent a lot of time in the back streets and lanes of Hong Kong and Macau many years ago shooting endless rolls of b&w film. The purists will say that the Zeiss glass while excellent is not a match for the top of the line digitals. I wonder what Ansel Adams would have to say about that. I got some wonderful results and as a machine it was an undiluted joy to use. And then to return home and process the negs and do up a proof sheet … that’s what I call time very well spent!

Author: Matthew Curtis   |   23 September 2013- 1:26 pm

    We need to talk – I am aboout to start developing B&W – but I am trying to resist getting too keen to play with medium format!!

    Author: Bruce   |   23 September 2013- 2:05 pm

On close inspection of your shots – interesting – the ones you did with the Leica and the Voigtlander, 3inlane and the colonnades at the PO, seem to me to have a feel about them. And the almost abstract too.
Lucky fellow – what a lovely thing to have done though.

Author: Matthew Curtis   |   23 September 2013- 1:46 pm

    Matthew – I do love the Leica and the Voigtlander -the RF’s, but I also enjoy the FE2 – for the soft rendering and misty feel

    Author: Bruce   |   23 September 2013- 2:08 pm