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Let me tell you about a roll of film that went through a lot.
Not because of the places and things I captured with it, no, I mean way more literal than that. This roll of film lived a rough life but came out the other side and here I am to tell its story.
I mentioned in my earlier post that I had brought a vintage SLR camera with me to Atlanta.
I have posted photos from this camera before,here, and I knew it wasn’t perfect but “perfect” has never really mattered to me.
It’s a Carena Micro RSD and we found it in a box with random camera stuff at a flea market in Sweden, for a bargain. We got it right before our wedding back in 2013 and asked one of our friends to capture our day with it.
So it holds a lot of sentimental value for me, and I wanted to shoot more film, so it got to come along to Atlanta.
I used it every once in a while over our 7 months there, and then when the roll was full I re-winded it- but something didn’t feel right. I opened the back and oh no the camera had chewed the film; it was torn apart and not at all rolled up, so I had just unwillingly exposed it to light and subsequently destroyed the film even further than the camera had already done. I closed the camera, ran to my bed and threw it under the cover where I could safely, in the dark, remove the film and put it in a canister, and for extra security- a black sunglasses bag that I had grabbed in the haste. That would have to do until later.

Months later, back in LA, I thought, maybe I could use this roll for practicing developing negatives at home- something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. If it’s already botched I wouldn’t need to be so scared of destroying some kind of masterpiece (which obviously would have been my thought otherwise) and I would feel more relaxed, free to experiment and learn.
I had everything I needed to develop negatives at home; David had gifted me a whole beginner’s kit for Christmas, including a dark bag for getting the film onto the spool and into the development tank.
I looked at so many videos on YouTube of people showing how to do that part before I dared to give it a try myself. At some point you just gotta go for it, right?
It was so difficult and frustrating, and I could feel the film buckling and folding and probably getting fingerprints all over it. I didn’t know my hands could get so sweaty! At one point I had to take a break (there was a lot of swearing going on) and come back to it after I had calmed down a little.
But when I finally did get it onto the spool I felt so gosh darn proud of myself. Accomplished even.
The beginner’s kit I had was from Ilford and it contained everything I needed to develop two rolls of black and white film. I read through the manual and looked at videos until I felt fairly confident I could do it, and I also wrote down everything I had to do in list form so I could check it off as I went along.
It was quite easy, no mishaps, and when I was hanging up the developed negatives to dry it felt really good, because I could already see that it had worked. There were pictures on there!

Next step was scanning, and it took me another round of reading and looking at YouTube videos to get the hang of it but at that stage there is no time rush- like there is while developing- so I could take however long I needed.
There were definite signs of the film having been exposed to light, marks from bending and tearing and lots of dust, but I felt so proud of myself, and I really do love these photos.
I think they turned out “perfect”.
Bathroom in the morning.
Coffee and vitamins.
Messy bed.
Water and vitamins.
Really love this one, the texture of it is so wonderful to me.
Great example of when mistakes can make something better than you could have planned for.
Toilet paper in the wind.
I like this one too. A branch of cherry blossom in a brutalist world.
A security guard came up to me as I was taking this photo and told me "you aren't allowed to photograph train stations". I had no clue. But I just pointed to the cherry tree and said "I'm just taking photos of the pretty flowers" and that made him smile and leave me alone.
David with a lot of beard.
I have a lot of photos of this house. There's just something about it that intrigues me. Yes, it's pretty, but it's also something so doll house about that window.
The way America sorts its cords is baffling to me.
And we'll end with another favorite of mine. Magnolias! Also- there's a ladybug in this photo.

Since these photos I have developed a lot more rolls of film, even in color, and I think I've gotten the hang of it. It's certainly not as stressful anymore- a lot of the time it's even meditative- and I am super fast at getting the film onto the spool in the dark now!

I'll continue to share my Developing Journey here as I go. It brings me so much joy.

/Lotta
A self portrait in front of the garden ruin wall.
A post about memories from last year, starts with some thoughts from yesterday, right before the power went out:
Rain days are events in LA. I search through the playlists for something appropriate. I make pho for lunch- you have to take the soup opportunities whenever they show up in this town. The windows fog up and the ceiling lamps are on. Moody blues from the speakers.
I'm reminded that it's a year since we went to Atlanta. I realize this because of how many wild animals that walk by our security cameras during the nights. It was the same this time last year when I checked up on the house from across the country.
Speaking about Atlanta, that is where I really got into film photography.
I had brought along a vintage SLR camera that I wasn't sure I could trust (more on that in a different post) so I decided to buy a little point and shoot camera so I could easily document our neighborhood and the surroundings that had been our home there for 7 months.
Sure, I had taken about a gazillion iPhone photos, but I wanted something that would feel more special. It's such an interesting experience to relocate for a few months like that, to create new everyday routines for a certain period, to start feeling at home- and then leave that life never to come back again. We'll most definitely be in Atlanta again some day, but probably never in that exact house and neighborhood. Not that we wouldn't want to, but what are the odds, right?
It was our home for those 7 months and it will forever be an important part of our lives, so I wanted to be able to remember it like the bubble in time it felt like.
I carried around this little camera, the Pentax PC35AF-M, everywhere I went and snapped photos of everything that caught my eye.
Let's take a look, shall we?
And a warning: there will be A LOT of photos.
I walked to Physical Therapy every week for my back that was behaving stupidly. That walk (and all the houses I passed) was such a huge part of my Atlanta life.
I think this photo is one my absolute favorites from Atlanta. Black and white is so wonderfully moody.
I visited David on set.
I realized I hadn't had enough fried chicken in Atlanta, so one day in the weeks before we went back to LA I walked and bought some.
We had an evening walk route that we loved.
We lived in a fun neighborhood.
The house we rented was quirky, old and wonderful.
I found a park that was almost always empty, that I made into my office. A picnic blanket and a foldable laptop table under this tree was all I needed.
One day when I was sitting there I got the call that a dear friend of mine had died suddenly.
This park and tree became even more important to me after that.
This car caught my eye in color...
...and in black and white film.
On our way home with our Sunday lunch, always from Fred's Meat and Bread.
And we'll end this trip down memory lane with my tree again, now in Black and White.


/Lotta

Camera: Pentax PC35AF-M
Film: Fuji Superia X-TRA 400 and Ilford HP5 Plus
I have a meadow office now.
It’s on a yellow checkered picnic blanket in a park that is almost always empty (except for a few dogs and their owners, some old ladies and their newspapers).
It has sun and shade, a large old tree that feels like it’s guarding me, and there are birds ants and squirrels, and long stretches of grass with puddles of white clover flowers.
It's so green right now, and the other day I heard that Atlanta has the highest ratio trees per person and I haven’t checked if that’s true but I like it.

Two weeks ago I sat in this exact spot when I got the call that a dear fried of mine had died.
I had been thinking that this place feels so meaningful to me. That later, when we’re back in LA, I will think about it with warmth.
Now it carries so much more; it’s a meadow for thoughts about life and death, and I will never forget it and the large old tree that took such good care of me.

We got to experience some real Georgia weather this past week, with Tornado warnings, and thunder storms louder than any I’ve ever been through before. It was my very first Tornado scare.
We sat on the front porch one evening when the rain poured down. Lightning flashed the sky every other minute and the thunder rumbled for what felt like a lifetime before it rolled away.
My head on his shoulder in the jasmine scented, humid Atlanta night.
That’s another one of those evenings that will become an important memory from this time in my life.

/Lotta
We've been in Atlanta for a week now and I've been walking around with a camera around my neck taking photos of things that have caught my eye.
I've never been to Atlanta before so I'm enjoying getting to know the city.
Here's what I've seen these past 7 days.
It's like we arrived just in time for spring. Everything was on the brink of bursting.
On Sunday we went on a little excursion.
To get bagels from Emerald City Bagels .
Magnolia while we waited.
Look. At. That.
We walked to a nearby park to eat. My egg and bacon breakfast bagel was probably the best one I've ever had.
You can tell, right?
Then we visited the historical Oakland Cemetery.
If you've been here a while you know I'm a big fan of cemeteries, they're always the first thing I look up when visiting a new city.
I understand that this might be a family name, but I like to imagine that they just decided to sort people by their first names and this is where all the Courtneys ended up.
And we'll end this first Atlanta post with an angel who's lost her hand.


A little technical note for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing:
All of these photos where taken with a Nikon Z6, and I used the following lenses:
A vintage Nikkor lens 35mm f1.4 for photos number 2-7 and 13-16 .
Nikkor 24-70mm f4 for photo number 1, and 8-12.
A vintage Nikkor 35mm f2.8 for number 17-26.

/Lotta
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