52 rolls of film in 52 weeks

An ambitious project indeed: shoot 52 rolls of film in 52 weeks. To make it more interesting I am aiming to try 52 different types of film. This post marks the beginning of what should be a fun (and long!) journey.

Why you may ask? That is a very good question, and not easily answered with a "why not" answer. This is certainly one of those "wow...wouldn't that be cool" ideas you come up with after too many beers, but thankfully it isn't actually my idea at all. 

But back to the why. I have quite recently invested heavily (in both time and money) into film photography, namely with my Leica M6 35mm camera. I'm also the proud owner of an old 1946 Speed Graphic camera (120mm film), which I am in the process of bringing back to life. With these two bad boys knocking around the house, and a fridge full of film, I have been slowly but surely taking lots of photographs and re-engaging with photography in a whole new way (ironic given I am using old (very old) equipment).

I am aware this still doesn't answer the why. A roll a week may not sound like a lot, but think about 36 exposures every 7 days with different film each week. Finding 52 different types of film is going to be a challenge in of itself. My daily life is also not that interesting to take random photos at a rate of 5 or so a day. And maybe that's the whole point. I can't think of a better way to make me go take more photographs, to commit to a project and see it through. Hell, even posting it on Facebook is a way for me to commit to doing it. At any rate the only two people who I know for certain will read this are Conor and Raphael, and it is safe to say you do not want to lose face with other photographers - so let's get this project going!

So back to the why, I've made a list:

  1. It's hard, it's bad-ass (well, not really), it's different.
  2. It will push my creativity to photograph different places, people, things, and perspectives.
  3. It will keep me away from the TV and computer - and that's a fact. There is nothing quite like shooting film to disconnect you from our 'always connected' world (although I am aware of the irony of posting this on social media).
  4. It's a (good?) way of trying out lots and lots of different film. The only downside to that is the expense, but life is too short and it's OK to spend money on things you enjoy. Full stop. 
  5. It will certainly challenge me as a photographer. Or maybe I will get bored of it mid-way and start taking photographs of potholes. Either way, there should be some interesting results.
  6. It will give me an excuse to post weekly on this website / blog.
  7. I like having a plan and obsessing over it. In fact, you can probably delete all the other reasons and just read this one.

Everyone's gotta have a plan in life, even if it is emtpy!

Usually these sorts of '52 weeks, 365 days' plans are drawn up after too many glasses of Port over Christmas. I don't see the need to wait for any of that. Anyways, I have already planned what type of film I am using to cover the German Christmas Markets (that is either very good planning or obsession gone too far).

In fact, I am already done shooting my first roll of film as part of this project. An Ilford 3200 Black and White film - I am sure it is going to bring back some excellent results (or as my friend Conor asked me "are you planning on shooting black cats in the middle of the night with that?" (I apologise in advance for geeky photography jokes). What does '3200 ISO' mean? It is explained here.  The roll has now been sent off to my developer (Mein Film Lab, they are legends) so should get my scans back in a week or so.

And talking of different types of film - be ready to see some very interesting results. No instagram filters, no digital photoshopping - none of that comes close to what you can get with film. I will be shooting black and white, colour, added colour (think red or chrome), "streaked film" (random lines or blobs of light on the photo), and any other ones I can find. I may even go for the challenging infrared film.

As always, thanks for reading - do subscribe below, and once you're done with that - go take some photographs!

Have a good one,

Neil