A long time ago, in a land far away, there existed a type of photography that used chemicals. Gas was cheap, the US congress had an approval rating above 25% and we had to wait hours, if not days to see what we photographed. The “good old days”.
Lenses were (and still are) sharp as tacks and the cameras used film, and the final image depended a lot of what type of film you used. You had to work hard to get a really sharp image. Film grain and film size also determined the final results.
Cameras ranged from high end to what was basically considered toys, with plastic lenses and light leaks.
Artists would often use these cheap toy cameras to create art from the crappy images. You were limited to 12 shots per 120 size roll (24-36 with 35mm). You were a lot more careful what you shot, composing the image with an eye sharpened from years of spending money processing film to find you screwed up somewhere and the results were – at best – shitty.
Then along came digital. Even the cheap cameras had decent enough lenses to take sharp images with nice color. Yes, film isn’t dead yet. It’s in a medically induced coma right now, and time is running out.
Many of the toy cameras, Holga, Lomo, and others are still found, but processing is hard to find in smaller towns and doing it yourself takes a big chunk of change to get the equipment and more money for chemicals.
So digital is where it’s at… and now with Instagram and Facebook, people are using apps to create the look of folder film based images, and going to a lot of work to take a decently exposed digital image and turn it into the by-product of a 1960s 620 Brownie camera with Meniscus lens. Yes, you can still find these cameras, good luck finding the 620 film. My granny had a Brownie Hawkeye camera with flash. Nice big negative and processing was to be had at any drugstore.
There’s an interesting app I’ve been playing with for the Android called XnRetro. It’s doing a pretty nice job of mimicking older cameras, especially those like the Lomo with their unique light leaks and badly masked film planes.
I also discovered XnRetro makes a version of its program for Windows, OSx and Linux. I came across this app while looking at HDR apps.
I downloaded the desktop version and it’s essentially the same as the Android App. No annoying ads, tho. I applied a few of the filters to some existing images shot with the trusty old Nikon and nice results! I have been using it for Instagram posts lately.
Here’s a small gallery of the rework of some Nikon shots from October…