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February 22, 2015 / Aware of the Void

Mistakes are My Style


A couple of weeks ago I met a bunch of film photographers in the city for a late night photowalk. I had a long day at work and was not really in the humour of hauling my tripod around the city with me so I decided to pack light. One camera, one roll of film and the plan was to shoot hand-held or use any flat surface to steady the camera for the long exposures. I rated the TRI-X at 1600 with the intention of pushing the development to see if I could get any usable shots.

It was the first time I had taken my Rolleiflex out in a few months and as I was sitting on the train loading the film I had a suspicion that I had done something wrong. The film spool felt a little bit tight as I wound to the first frame but as it was my only roll of film I persevered and went shooting. With each subsequent shot the crank got even harder to turn and I could hear the telltale sound of film being scratched.

I shot most of the roll and then opened the back to see what I had done wrong. I had somehow managed to load the film underneath one of the rollers which meant that every shot got dragged across the bare metal inside the film holder. It is nearly impossible to accidentally load your Rollei this way and i’m still baffled how I managed. I used Kodak HC-110 developer and decided to stand develop the roll as I had some other rolls I wanted to process at the same time. Here is some of my shots complete with perfectly parallel scratch lines.







Camera:Rolleiflex K4B
Film: Kodak Tri-X
Dev: Kodak HC110 1+100 (90 mins 20c)


Leave a Comment
  1. artcouk / Feb 22 2015 2:10 pm

    Reminds me of rutilated Quartz. Clear with thin strip of ferrous metal. It’s a nice effect. Which city is this by the way?

  2. Joe shoots resurrected cameras / Feb 22 2015 4:15 pm

    Kind of makes it look like a rainy night

    • Aware of the Void / Feb 22 2015 4:35 pm

      Yeah it has added atmosphere that might have been lacking otherwise 🙂

  3. mewanchuk / Feb 22 2015 5:58 pm

    I quite like these–I would consider them an absolute success!


  4. the6millionpman / Feb 22 2015 7:56 pm

    I agree that it makes it look like a rainy night, the best things usually are discovered by accident and I think this is one of those.

  5. christian harkness / Feb 23 2015 5:52 pm

    Hey Brendan – love it! On top of that, the photos turned out well. I think film photographers have to make EVERY mistake at least once! One of my favorite photos is a Holga shot where during development I forgot to put the spindle back into the tank, and as a result have this giant light leak at the top. And then there is the time I opened the camera at the beach…..Now that I am taking up film a little bit again, I am finding new mistakes to make – every time!!! 🙂

  6. yarglags / Feb 23 2015 10:46 pm

    You managed to make me look good so I think you should call it a huge achievement..

  7. Shaun Nelson / Feb 25 2015 5:58 pm

    I can guarantee I will make every mistake possible, learn, and then move along. I did it time-and-time again when I started shooting digital. And now that I’m using film, I’m starting all over again. I did something similar when I was shooting 35mm Kodak Gold (sprockets) in a 120 camera. Towards the end of the roll, I could hear the film scratching inside the camera. Your mistake is much more artistic than mine. 🙂 My shots were ruined. Yours have a unique look, like others have said. Thanks for sharing your images and the courage to share your mistake.

    • Aware of the Void / Feb 28 2015 6:31 am

      Thanks Shaun, I never really worry about the mistakes I tend the find that the results are secondary to the enjoyment of shooting and the time in my darkroom. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. drawandshoot / Mar 1 2015 7:36 pm

    A bar code in every image… mistakes can have some interesting results!

  9. aafke / Mar 3 2015 7:58 am

    The scratches make them look very authentic. Extra bonus was seeing was a familiar face.

    • Aware of the Void / Mar 5 2015 8:05 pm

      Yeah I normally only see Peter about once every two years so in real life the rest of the time we only really chat in the interwebs.

      • yarglags / Mar 14 2015 1:48 pm

        ‘play your cards right and we could get it down to 18 months. 8D


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