This is Nimar and Daniel’s photography blog: Very Negative.
As the name suggests, we will focus on analog photography and the whole process around it. We started this blog to show the beauty of the medium film and to challenge ourselves to become better photographers. Besides showing our work, we also want to write about different cameras, developing film, darkroom and scanning techniques and about the whole analog workflow in general.
I got started with photography when I bought my first DSLR before a trip to Iceland in 2009 to be able to take at least half-decent landscape photos. After returning, I continued to take pictures sporadically at home and regularly on holidays.
While I was in Japan in 2012 I spoke to loads of people who were still shooting film and decided to give it a try! I asked my mom to lend me her old Rollei SL35 E and bought a film tank, thermometer and dark bag to develop in my bathroom. That seemed out to work pretty well and even though a few major mistakes were made I was hooked. Being back in Germany, I noticed that I had never really taken pictures of my immediate surroundings and began to consciously take more pictures of where I live on film. That also led to discovering interesting places I haven’t been to before, even though they were very close by – it gives an excuse to explore.
I also got increasingly more interested in analog cameras and began to try everything I could lay my hand on – mostly film cameras preserved by relatives or friends. Fortunately, I am lucky enough that my university has a decent film scanner (Nikon Coolscan 9000ED) for students to use for free, so I was able to gather some experience with the incredible resolution of medium format negatives which still blows me away.
Lately, I have been trying to create sets of images rather than single images which stand by themselves – it turns out to be a lot harder than I initially thought though, but in a challenging kind of way.
Hopefully, I will manage to improve step by step – which also was a motivation for creating this blog!
Just as Nimar, I started photography with a self-bought DSLR in 2010. I got myself a pretty standard Canon EOS 550D with kit lens. I had lots of fun experimenting with it and learning the basics of photography. Later when I went to travel South America for five months, I bought a small Canon superzoom point & shoot that was not as bulky as the DSLR. My friends also had the wonderful idea to give me 3 underwater one-way cameras along with 12 tasks that I should fulfill and take photos of. This was my first time using my own analog camera. When I got back and had the pictures developed, they turned out to be quite shitty though as most of the pictures were exposed horribly. But, there were some pics that I still really like today.
My dad then gave me his old Canon AE-1 with lots of lenses and equipment. I started shooting right away, but also kept using one-way cameras for their ease of use and great portability. I started to shoot lots of pics of my friends and with my one-way cameras and had lots of fun with them while using the AE-1 on the side for more ‘serious’ photography. When I went travelling to Spain for three weeks I remembered my parents’ old compact Canon Sureshot Max, a very basic 35mm f3.5 autofocus no frills camera. This camera has been with me since then and I think I have shot most of my rolls with this little and trusty fella.
My first time developing my own film was a roll of Kodak T-Max with Nimar. He showed me the whole black and white developing process and the pics turned out great. For a while though, this was the only black and white film that I shot until I got to Singapore for my exchange semester. The university there had a photography club (NTU PVS) where I immediately applied. This is where I learned everything there is to know about developing film and printing pictures in the darkroom. I really learned a lot from Jun Guang and the others from the club while shooting rolls of black and white film like mad (Tri-X @1600!!). Since then, I didn’t have the chance to print anymore, but I am in the process of acquiring some equipment, so I hope to soon be able print again.