Sunday, 15 March 2015

Agfa APX 100: Found Film

A while back I wrote about the Olympus Pen F, a classic half-frame SLR from the late 1960s. My camera arrived with a roll of Agfa APX 100 inside it. APX is a black and white film that was discontinued in the mid-2000s. I put it to one side but it haunted me; I assumed it had been used to test out the camera and probably had nothing on it, but I have a load of developing fluid, so why not find out?

Found film is big business, viz the Vivian Maier industry, whereby a bunch of people who never met her or helped her in any way fight over ownership of her negatives, which they bought in an auction. Maier was a fantastic photographer who lived just long enough to see her life's work taken from her; now a bunch of businessmen squabble over her work while it still has value.

The cat is dreaming that some men on bicycles are cycling to deliver food. Like knights in shining armour, with boxes of sandwiches; the leading cyclists are smoothing the trail. "Hurry", thinks the cat. I've shot some APX 25, a slower and less grainier version of the same film, and they have a similar look - the blacks are clipped. I suppose Fuji Acros is the nearest modern equivalent.

The wild hunt coursed through the sky, pulling us along in its wake. Daring the anti-aircraft batteries to open fire, but radar did not see them; with hearts older than radio waves we felt their passing, and the hot blood, and we took the reins and plunged on. Into a century of corrections, one after the other.