36 Exposures - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

For 2020 I have a goal: expose – at least – 36 rolls of film. By doing this I hope to improve my sensibility and aesthetic sensitivity, and learn if film photography will let me do what I enjoy as a viable future direction for me.

This ongoing project keeps track of my progress to date. Visit the gallery for more photos from each roll.


Roll 1, 3 January 2020.

Portra 400, EI200, lightly expired. Zeiss Ikon, 40/1.4 Nokton.

Yes, Portra, the beige of colour. Shot with the intention of digital black and white conversion. This was handy for complex environments where a single whole-roll colour contrast filter wasn't suitable, and lets a bit more light through the lens. It also works well when I'm switching my M lenses to a partnered digital camera, because otherwise I forget to take the colour filter off. Ultimately, though, it's just not silver.

This image was taken under the Bathurst Street Bridge, and goes back to my very earliest photos taken with a Sony F828, my first 'serious camera'.

Roll 2, 10 January 2020.

HP5+, EI400, Zeiss Ikon, 35/2 Biogon.

How often do I genuinely prefer something that's also the cheapest option? In photography that almost never happens, but with Ilford HP5 I've gotten lucky. I spent this roll just plinking around, and while I mostly used the 35/2, I also brought out the 85/4 and 40/1.4 for a few frames.

This photo is on Queen, just west of Yonge, near the big mall. I almost never have any reason to be down here, and it's always crowded enough that my participation isn't needed.

Roll 3, 22 January 2020.

Portra 160, EI100, Zeiss Ikon, 40/1.4 Nokton.

This wasn't supposed to happen. It's fun to play in storms, so I loaded HP5 into my beater SLR and put it outside to cool down so that the snow wouldn't stick to it. And the cold killed the battery. A roll of Portra 160 was the only other film that I had ready to go, so that's what I loaded into the rangefinder and hit the streets. Happily the little Nokton lens lets me fit the camera in a jacket pocket.

This is at College and Bathurst, looking south. The colour film image is just ugly, combining garish colours with slush-yellow snow. Converting to monochrome was always the plan, and now I always have extra HP5 on hand.

More images to come…

Equipment Roster, not that it matters:

Zeiss Ikon m-mount rangefinder.

Voigtländer 40/1.4 Nokton SC.

Zeiss 35/2 Biogon.

Zeiss 50/1.5 C-Sonnar.

Zeiss 85/4 Tele-Tessar.

Rising 28/127 Pinhole.

Nikon F6.

Sigma 24-35 f/2.

Nikon 85/2.8 PC-E.

Nikon 50/1.4G.

Canon A-1, FD 50/1.8.

Harman Reloadable.

Olympus XA.