I started my journey in photography in High School. I took a darkroom class my junior year, and instantly clicked. I spent my junior and senior year in the darkroom, managed to build my own darkroom that I set up in the bathroom – much to my wife’s dismay. I still shoot and process film, but have sold the darkroom equipment. I instead have a good scanner and use that to make prints. I still regularly shoot film and have a significant backlog to develop – somewhere around 100-125 rolls of film in the freezer. I shoot more than I have time to process. To keep things interesting, when I am done shooting a roll of film, I throw it in the freezer with all of the other exposed films. There is no organization. When I go to develop, I have absolutely no idea what will be on the roll. It is a complete surprise to me.
In the late 90’s, I was shooting film. There really was no such thing as “digital” photography (as we know it today, anyway). I was shooting a Pentax k1000 and a Minolta Maxxum 7. At the time, I was still developing a sense of style and still learning how to shoot. I was working as a photographer here and there, doing portrait work for my day job and moonlighting any chance I could get. At this point, I desperately wanted a Hasselblad 501c. I thought that all of the difficulties that I was having, the reason that many of the images were not working out was that my camera was not good enough. At that time a full Hasselblad kit would set me back at least $4000… which was way more than would ever be possible for me to justify.
I learned of the Kiev 88 which was a Soviet clone of the Hasselblad 1600. The Kiev 88 was a low cost, entry-level medium format camera, and sometime in 2000, I ended up buying one with a couple of lenses and backs. It may have been one of the worst decisions I have ever made in my photography career. I purchased it on eBay from a seller in Russia and after much worrying, the camera arrived to me in a burlap sack with wax seals. The camera seemed to be solid, all the functions seemed to work, but I soon discovered that there were problems with the film back. I ended up shooting with this camera for a few years and then traded it to get a more reliable camera.
Anyway, the whole point of this story is that I started working on developing roll film again, and one of the first rolls I developed last week were from that camera. I was a bit of a surprise to me, to see a roll of film that i shot more than 15 years ago.