Brownie 127 – A review and next Project

I must admit I haven’t played around with film photography for a while, my last project of film photos was for my modern day fairytale exhibition for Medway Open Studios.

I was delighted to be asked to have a play with a Kodak Brownie 127, something of a staple camera from the 1950’s.

The prospect of using another film camera was exciting. I’m at the start of prepping for a blurred / imperfect / destructive digital photography project, and the imperfections and a ‘hope and a prayer kind of photo’ that film gives you, has fuelled my fire of producing more film photography.

As I had come to the Brownie 127 Project quite late, it seemed the perfect time to have my 9 exposures entitled ‘The Last Day of Summer’. So on the sunniest and warmest day of August 2015, I loaded up the Brownie 127 and spent some quality time in my garden.

I was fortunate enough to have ben lent a Brownie camera with a film by a fellow artist who is also submitting work for the Brownie 127 project. This and the advice via email from the project lead made this start very easy.

I was however a little apprehensive to start…..with my staple 35mm Canon Film camera, (make sure its loaded in a dark room, automatic wind on, be careful when handling the film, make sure its in a dark room etc etc), the ease and simplicity of the Brownie camera seemed a little too good to be true! but it was! Loading the film in the shade was a breeze, it was quite difficult to work out if it had caught on the spool, but after a few turns it was. The number of exposures from the rear of the camera, didn’t appear as easily I’d hoped from the instructions with ‘2 or 3 turns would suffice’, however the roll needed to be turned at least 6 to see the exposure numbers. The Brownie seemed pretty hardy and robust.

I had posted a photo of the camera on my Instagram and my Facebook business page, and quite a number of family members and friends were posting that they too had a Brownie camera exactly the same back in the day. This was also great way of getting any further tips on using it!

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I really wasn’t too sure if any of my photos would come out, however as the day was bright and all photos were taken in the garden, so thought at least they would be well lit!

Due to the timescale to the project submission deadline, I sent the film away for developing, and within a week they had been returned, I think the price was reasonable for the developing. I will in the future have an experiement and develop my own.

When I had received the photos and the film back, it was evident that stillness when taking the photo was key (a skill to perfect on especially without the stabiliser function on digital cameras!), and to keep the subject wide in the view finder. I had perhaps been a little too close in shots of my dog (and that he was very energetic!). It was great to see however the contrasts in the photos were good (which I love high contrast photos), and some ‘happy mistakes’ were made when I didn’t turn the film on enough and got a double exposure on part of the film. This double exposure reminded me of when I went back to the very basics and made a camera obscura out of a shoe box. These ‘imperfections’ of slightly blurred, out of focus, and contrasty photos, I absolutely love. This camera is definitely one for more abstract photography (and great for quick holiday snaps).

The last day of summer Nikki Price shadow 2015

I also couldn’t resist taking a photo of my digital camera, as homage to the film!

Nikki Price, The Last Day of Summer (2015) 127 Film

For those of you who would like to be involved in a Nikki Price Photography project then carry on reading:

I’m revisiting a significant/memorable place for those of you who were children/young people growing up in the Medway Towns (or near) in the 1950’s, to have your photo taken at that place today, and to give this a short paragraph of why it is memorable/significant.

If you are interested in volunteering for this next project then drop me a line through the contact me link here:

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