two years ago i discovered the personal work of nate kaiser (instagram: @imageisfound) and jonathan canlas (Instagram: @jonathancanlas). the love and passion for film photography and their talent for capturing their families and friends that eminates from every one of their images sparked a fire within me that hadn't been burned within me for several years.
I was sixteen when I purchased my first interchangeable lens camera. it was a beautiful little chrome and black nikon fm-10. all manual, pure film magic. no auto focus, no drive motor, no anything. in today's digital camera world it's the equivalent of getting a model t as your first car. the only battery was for the light meter and it had 28-70 kit lens. I quickly befriended the owners of the local camera store and started shooting through large quantities of kodak tri-x 100 and gold 100 and 200. and my love, drive and fire for capturing the light around me was birthed. I'd spend the next 6-7 years with this camera, in the rain shooting flowers at cape cod, airshows at westover afb, eleven rolls of tri-x through northeastern romania, weddings, landscapes, the occasional selfie, time exposures... I'm still not sure how many rolls I went through but my guess is about 300-800. i was so happy with film. and in love with photography.
fast forward to last year. (since I'm in my thirties, it's kind of fun to say I've been doing photography for half of my life) I'm surrounded by my digital camera world - canons, pentaxes, nikons, iphones. but canlas', kaiser's and many others work is yelling at me to return to my roots. and suddenly at the same time I'm finding myself trying to talk people out of throwing away their still usable film cameras. and then I'm given a roll of fifteen year old expired 35mm film. and poof- #theexpiredexperiment is born. the goal: rescue orphaned film cameras and expired film and prove that they are still capable of creating beautiful images. and the biggest win? being able to document my family on film.
and now a year later my collection is up to around 11 cameras. pentax k1000, Me super. nikon n80, 6006, nikonos v, fm, nikkormat. canon ae-1. polaroid 500. minolta maxxum 5. etc. none of these cameras are perfect. some are entirely worn down but with the exception of the polaroid, they all work. and thanks to the giving hearts of several good friends, I have a pretty insane stock of expired film- from high speed infrared to kodak gold to fuji 200-800 and more. and slowly but surely I'm running test rolls through all the cameras and taking more rolls after that too. my new challenge will be a roll of kodachrome under water inside my latest acquisition - a nikonos v with 35mm lens.
#theexpiredexperiment is my happy place. using tired old cameras straight as they come with film that's not supposed to be good anymore and getting positive results. creatively, there's nothing more fun and fulfilling than that to me.