Over the course of 2023, I’ve decided I’m going to shoot a roll of film every week. 52 films sounds both like not very much, and yet also an absolutely enormous number. 52 weeks times 36 shots – hence 52×36 – is a rather daunting 1872 images. Of course, 35mm film comes regularly on 24 exposure rolls too, and I also intend to shoot medium format – usually 15 images from a standard 120 roll on my Bronica ETRS – and some instant. Let’s conservatively call it 1200 images.

This challenge stems from three things: wanting to give myself a routine; wanting to encourage – read “force” – myself to create more often; and the fact I recently came into possession of a huge box of film to go with my strange little collection of 35mm, medium format and instant cameras.

I plan not to use the same camera or film two weeks running, giving me a chance to really get a feel for the differences across formats, equipment and film stock. As it stands, I have some preconceptions but no firm preferences. My dad, a veteran of film photography, has helped me set up my first every home developing station, which will help cut costs significantly. If I don’t develop and scan as much as possible myself, the costs will likely become prohibitive very quickly. Printing is something we can worry about later! For now, I’m not planning to home-process anything but black and white. Colour and/or slide can wait until I’ve really got my eye in.

I shot my first roll between the Sunday 1st and Saturday 7th of January with my charity-shop-sourced Olympus Trip 35, a camera I adore for its beauty, simplicity and surprisingly outstanding image quality. For film stock, I went with Ilford HP5 – snapped at box speed – because using colour film in a British January would undeniably be a waste. British winters don’t really have colours, they have shades.

One of the things I noticed almost immediately, but that was highlighted especially when I switched to an SLR for the second week of the year, was the almost fire-and-forget nature of the Trip. It’s so easy to use that it’s almost too easy. Thanks to its beautiful selenium meter, it decides what exposure you need, without any need for consideration or thought on the part of the user. On more than one occasion, because it’s simply a viewfinder as opposed a rangefinder, I entirely forgot to adjust the zone focus – I suspect this is something I’d get better at if I more regularly used the camera. On a sunny day, with F-stops in the teens, you almost don’t need to worry about focusing at all. Is that a blessing or a curse? Honestly, both. It does mean that you don’t fret quite so much about stuff, but can mean you miss some shots.

Please enjoy a handful of snaps from that first roll: Ilford HP5, Olympus Trip 35. All were shot in Bristol, UK.

Shoppers in the post-Christmas sales criss-cross the frame

A small railway runs occasionally on Bristol’s harbourside

My favourite local coffee place, Ritual

One of Bristol’s famous harbour cranes

A selection of mirrors in a TK Maxx store

You can follow the rest of the year on my Instagram – @YorathOnFilm – and here, where I plan to write some more pieces with reflections on what I’ve learned and enjoyed.

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