Last summer I submitted a paragraph to http://www.filmrescue.com/ in regards to two rolls of AGFA film they were giving away. Now me being a big fan of vintage expired films, I had to try and get my hands on these rolls. Shortly after entering the film contest I received a email from Robyn at Film Rescue indicating that I did indeed win the two rolls of AGFA film.
I knew once I got my hands on these rolls I was going to use them for a special day of shooting. I just did not know when or where they would be shot and last week I decided to pull out one roll for a bright sunny day. I was going to take this roll of AGFA Isopan to a local waterfront area that has a lot of historical meaning to the region. This area is now being transformed into condos and they are ripping up a lot of the old buildings. I wanted to take the roll and shoot this area before the modern condos go up. And I thought a vintage roll of AGFA film that expired in 1956 would be a great film to document the it.
The roll itself came to Film Rescue via England and would have been made in Germany in the mid 40’s. This film traveled a long way and was stored for a long time before getting to me. And as I opened this roll of film I started to think and ask myself who owned this roll and where was it purchased originally? It would more then likely have been purchased in the mid 1940’s when the world was in chaos. And I asked myself how many places did this roll of film travel to make it to my fridge in the year 2013.
Once I had the location and idea of what I wanted to shoot I had to pick a camera to use. I chose my Canon AE-1 for the job. The reason chose this camera is simple, I trust it and am very used to it. Also the film itself was a very ,very slow iso of 10! and I needed a camera that could match it or go lower. The Canon AE-1 would only go down as low as 12 ISO so I figured that was the closest I could get. Loading this film was was a little different from what I am used to as the film lead was a bit longer then your standard 35mm leads today. I also had a bit of a hard time getting the lead to attach onto the take up spool. After a few tries the film took up nicely and you have to remember when shooting film this old you need patience so take your time and never force anything.
Once the film was all loaded and I met up with a good photographer friend, we were off. The actual day was very bright and sunny and the not a cloud in the sky. I set the camera at 1/125th and away we went. I remembered the excitement my friend Paul and I had for this roll of film. And the fact each frame was going to be a mystery as to how it will come out. And I have to say the AGFA Isopan film blew me away!! Each and every frame came out and was properly exposed!
It is sad that most of these building will be gone in the coming months as the condos go up. This is one of the reasons I wanted to document this area with this film.
As we walked around this waterfront area with our cameras we came to the water and there was a layer of ice that had built up and what I got from these shots blew my mind! By far my favorites from this roll of AGFA film.
Once I had shot for the afternoon I still had a few frames left on the roll of AGFA Isopan. I decided to wait a day or two and finish the roll off and develop it on the weekend. I finished the roll in Niagara-On-The-Lake at a cemetery in the heart of the old town.
Processing this roll of film was going to take some TLC and I was going to develop it in Blazinal which is Canadian Rodinal (if you did not know). Rodinal was produced by AGFA for over 115 years and it is my go-to developer when dealing with old or out of date film. I had to stand develop the roll for 60 minutes and agitate only twice at the 20 minute mark and also the 40 min mark. I used distilled water for the stop bath and I used Kodak’s hardener fixer to finish the process. The feeling I get in the wash process of the development is this total feeling of excitement of not knowing what the film will produce. And when you finally have it finished and you unroll it from the spool and see these awesome and incredible images. It is at that moment that you realize and remember why you shoot film! and why it is so important to support people like http://www.filmrescue.com/ because without them and their passion for film this roll of AGFA Isopan may have been tossed and would have never seen the inside of a camera. All this would not be possible without people like this. If you come by old film, Shoot it!! have fun with this stuff! No matter what the expiration date says you can use it and you maybe surprised at the results!
Again I would like to thank Film Rescue for the opportunity to use this amazing roll of film!