I've started to pick up the shuttlerbug in 2002, when my daughter Manon was born. Just like any parent, I wanted to capture these so precious and unique memories. I had no photography experience at the time and digital cameras were starting to flood the market so I picked one up. First camera was a Kodak DC280. A 2MP camera, quite capable! Very quickly I upgraded to a Canon G2 which offered better capabilities. But i was still not satisfied with the level of manual control offered, especially for depth of field. DSLR were starting to be sold but were a bit too expensive for my budget. So I bought my first film camera and fell in love with film. It was a Canon Elan 7E with a kit lens. Very soon, I realized that zooms were not the best for low light capture so I bought fixed focal lenses: 35, 50, 85, 100. My film were developed at Walgreens for the most part. They did a “decent” job but I soon realized that pro labs were doing a much better job. So I started sending my film to A&I, in Los Angeles. But of course, it became expensive and I was quite interested to develop my own black and white. Started in 2004 in my kitchen and was then scanning the negatives.
Made a mistake in 2004 to rent a Leica M3. Just to understand the hype about these cameras which I considered way too overpriced. Shot a roll of film and never looked back. I was hooked for ever. The simplicity, clarity of the viewfinder, the craftsmanship, the different experience. And the lenses! Oh the lenses! Bought my first Leica M3 very soon after the rental. Then a M6 which I sold for a MP. My wife offered me a IIIf for the birth of my twin boys. Bought a stupid number of lenses for my Leica. Just to try them out. Bought and sold A LOT of lenses on Ebay. I also bought quite a bit of small rangefinders. Again, to try them out. Have fun. Sold most of them in 2006 as we were moving to France and I had no real good way to develop my films.
I haven’t shot film for the last 10 years. I primarily shoot with my Leica M262 and Fujifilm X100S. A few months ago, I wandered in my garage and watched sadly my big box of films (probably 500 rolls). I never sold them for some reason. I picked up a roll of Tri-X 120 and loaded an old Yashica Mat. Shot the roll with some random photos but had fun. Sent the roll to TheFindLab which was recommended to me and got some fine scans back. I was hooked again. One thing I missed with Digital is the wait. You have to wait to see your pictures. You have to dream about that shot you hope to be awesome. You’re more careful with your shutter. Every shot count. Once in a while, I want that feeling back. I needed a project, and I wanted to involve my daughter (now 14) since she is a big reason for my photography passion. She is “interested” by photography and shoot mostly with her iPhone. I want to teach her about the basics of photography and see where it goes.
400iso is a project combining my love for camera, black and white processing and teaching. Since I sold most of my film camera a while back, I have to buy some new one! I ended up reading this article a few weeks ago: it seemed to be a good starting point. Full disclosure: I owned most of these camera at some point in the past 15 years 😀
Since it’s been a while, I’ve booked some tutoring session for my daughter and myself at the Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco and I will post the results here as well as on my Instagram account.