Experimental antique imaging.
Or, "Capturing 8-minute-old photons with a 30-year-old camera."
I am halfway through the first roll of film I've shot in at least fifteen years, and it's in a Soviet-era camera (a Zenit 11) that has been sat in a drawer for at least twenty-five years. It's certainly older than that - it was second-hand when my folks got it for teenage-me after I expressed an interest in taking proper pictures and I think they stopped making them in 1990. It has no battery, no automation of any kind, no in-viewfinder display (unlike the borgeois Zenit 12 which had two LEDs for under/overexposure). This lack of complexity is probably why everything still seems to work.... all the moving parts move, the shutter seems to have a smooth action and frankly you'll all be jealous of my selenium-light-meter-with-lookup-dial combo after EMP hits. (Although now I've typed that I'm trying to work out if the light meter would actually still work after an EMP. But you take my point.)
As an experiment, I've picked up a roll of "fake" black & white film (colour chemistry stuff, because I need something that Snappy Snaps can process) and I'm gonna turn it in and see if the camera has developed any exciting leaks or flaws. First observation? It's amazing how much more you start to think about the frame when you know you've only got 24 exposures. Also, winding on the film has become a completely foreign concept - I forgot literally every time.
All technologies become defined by their flaws in their artefacts, and subsequent iterations of the technology often model those flaws for aesthetic reasons (hello Instagram) but I must say the actual experience of taking a picture with knobs and dials and chemicals is also an artefact of the old technology. And surprisingly good fun.
I'll post some results if I get any.
(UPDATE: The camera had a horrendous light leak so nothing much came out. I'm now desperately not shopping for cameras on eBay, honest guv.)
Posted Monday, February 12, 2018.