Part of the Process is a series of posts that puts the spotlight on film photographers and DIY film developers. These features provide unique experiences and perspectives on shooting and developing film while also showcasing diverse talent and film photographers around the globe. If you are interested in being featured, feel free to contact me!
Name: Eric Löfgen
Location: St. Vith, Belgium
What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?
Petapixel, Lomography, ishootfilm, and Matt Day on Youtube.
What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?
I never really was interested in photography, I was more into music during my youth. Sometimes, my best friend took his camera to our rehearsals and he shot some pictures of us. What I really liked about that, was that two months later he showed us the shots. I was used to that when I was a kid because of my parents, but seeing this years later fascinated me.
A few months later, I contacted another friend who was into photography, to give me a quick lesson about exposure and all that. He gave me his Pentax and I took some shots. After that it took me almost a year until I purchased my first own 35mm camera. It was a Yashica MG1 that I found at the flea market. I still had some troubles shooting because the exposure was fixed to around 1/60s and I didn’t like rangefinders at the time.
Another two or three months later, an old friend contacted me. His grandfather died and they found his old photo gear in the attic. It was a Canon AE-1 with a 50mm, a 28mm and a 80-200mm. I immediately bought it and I’ve never regretted that decision. I started shooting more and more, mostly landscapes.
But I was still learning, I shot a few rolls who were completely underexposed. I wanted it too fast — so I started to teach myself more about exposures and ISO. After that, I was in a buying rush, everything I saw on flea markets had to be mine. I got into developing at home, because my local development spot charged me about 24€/roll, which was really expensive because I was shooting a lot more by this time.
I started with a Adonal black and white starter set. The next evening, I developed my first roll. The pictures were bad, but the feeling while pulling the film out of the spool was unmatched. Seeing that I nailed it was a great feeling. Half a year after that I started with C41-color development.
What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?
I mostly shoot portraits at the moment. To me, portraits are the best way to capture feelings.
What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer?
I’m shooting a few 35mm cameras: Canon A1 & AE1 and a Rollei 35s. I use my 35mm for action shots like concerts and skateboarding. They allow to jump in and take the shot because they are a bit more handy. They are more of a snapshot camera to me, if needed.
For medium format, I am using a Yashica Mat 124. I’ve been forcing myself to shoot only with my Yashica Mat 124 this past summer, to learn more about the camera and to slow down a bit more. I’m using this camera mostly for portraits and landscapes. It allows me to think about what I am about to shoot.
I am also shooting Polaroids using a Polaroid EE66. My polaroid camera is just for fun. It is mostly used on evenings combined with drinking with friends.
I’m still looking for my favorite film, but I am currently shooting Kodak Portra series, Ilford HP5, Ilford Delta 400, and Fuji-100.
What types of film do you develop?
C41 and black and white.
Tell us about your first experiences in developing your own film. How did you muster the courage to give it a shot? What resources did you use?
I remember my first roll quite well. It was a 120 roll of Ilford FP+. It was actually kind of a risk. I never did the spooling with a medium format film and I wanted to try this the first time in complete darkness. It took me half an hour until I got the film into the spool and at the end, I wasn’t even sure if it was right. During this half hour I thought “What the fuck? Why am I even doing this? This is nuts! You won’t succeed!”. When I turned the light on, I proved myself correct because I mistook the backing paper for the negative. Beginner fail.
I did some research on the internet and everyone was saying something different. I read many blogs, watched many youtube videos. To be honest, I did not expect any results. So many ways, and so many different times to develop film. I just didn’t know where to start. But when I opened the tank and I saw something, I realized that I did it. I developed my first roll of film!
What is your development process like now?
At first, I’m shooting some rolls until I have enough film in my fridge. After that I start developing. When everything is dry, I start scanning. Mostly with a good beer, because it takes forever. After scanning I’m archiving the rolls.
What’s your processes regarding scanning, enlarging, and/or printing your work?
I scan all film myself with a Canon 9000F Mark II. Not the best scanner in the game, but it’s alright. I’ve bought an enlarger on eBay, did some prints but I didn’t find the time yet to really get into it.
Sometimes I’m developing with friends. These evenings are special to me. We’re both creating something this evening. Drinking a beer during and talk about life. This is something unique that I really enjoy about my process.
What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?
I’m using the paterson beginner set with Paterson 35mm and medium format tank with Adonal black and white chemicals. I’m using the Tetenal C41 for color. I did not choose a special brand, the monetary offer just was simply attractive to me.
Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions?
I’m still looking for my way in this world. I’m currently trying to improve my development process. I’m also trying to shoot more with models/people I don’t know. That’s something I’m afraid of but I’m ready to try something new. I always learn by doing, so that’s something I have to do.
Have you completed any notable projects or in the process of creating something from the film you have shot and developed?
I just started my first project called a summer on 6×6. The concept is very simple. I shoot my Yashica Mat124 all summer and develop them come Autumn. Maybe I’ll do some prints, or maybe even a book. We’ll see. I have some other projects planned for the coming years.
What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?
Try it and don’t be afraid of failing! Failing is normal but you’ll learn from it! You will love it. Take notes, get into you own rhythm, never stop learning, watch youtube videos, try different techniques … Don’t let anyone stress you. Shooting is my way of relaxing. It allows me to slow down in this stressful world 🙂