analog photography contemporary art experimental photography fine art Germany Joe Cabrio photo art portrait art portrait photography



// Joe is based in Muensterland, Germany. While he began with digital photography, he switched completely to analog photography some three years ago. He has accumulated quite a collection of old analog cameras and has tried out many different films. We present a set of rather painterly looking photos taken on a Kiev 2 with long expired Kodak Ultra 400 film.

“For a long time I took photos only for “documenting reasons”, like family, sightseeing etc. About seven years ago I started to do more, taking pictures for aesthetic reasons, trying out the range of photography by working consciously with camera settings in a digital format. For about three years now, I’m completely in analog photography – adding to the camera settings a variety of film material and development. My photography style can still be described as “documentation”, meaning (mostly) no staged settings, capturing things in the coincidental state I found them, just adding my point of view or framing to it,” says Joe.

“let us look at the gallows hill as a lookout of the imagination into the all around, in the all around there is still much that is mute.”

Christian Morgenstern
(translated from German, from the “Galgenlieder”)

What draws you to the arts?

“I generally love art as a special, individual access to reality, opening unknown or unusual ways of seeing, hearing, feeling. To engage in the different ways of reception and production of other artists for me opens the mind and consciousness and my own ability to perceive.”

What do you like best about the photo project you have shared with us?

“The unexpected and unpredictable influence of old film material.”

In the present series there are pictures taken with expired Kodak ultra 400 films, from around 1995 (estimated, because Joe bought a convolute of them without packaging). He put them into a Kiev 2 (Ukrainian Contax copy) from 1954 and shot them at little above box speed with 35 / 50 / 135 mm lenses. When self developing them in Tetenal, it turned out that the film carrier material had become stiff and dark over the years. The normally transparent and light orange color of the polyester had changed to a dense dark orange-brown. “That made the digitalization a bit tricky – I do that regularly by digital camera on a tripod with a Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar 60mm, inverting with Negative Lab Pro (very nice software, recommendation!),” Joe says about this experiment. “First I thought, ok, maybe better not to have bought this convolute of long stored films… but then I was more and more pleased by the resulting grain and colours.”

We certainly share Joe´s assessment of the results, as the photos have a nicely old-fashioned romantic feeling to them – a dreaminess we love. Sharp detail is overrated!

Joe has an amazing diversity of analog cameras and regularly shows his pictures along with photos of the cameras he took them with in his Instagram gallery. There are always interesting tidbits about the process in the descriptions too, so do check that out, if you are interested in analog photography.

Photos may be cropped for layout. Click on the photos to see a larger image with its title in original dimensions.


To see more of his photography visit Joe´s Instagram page .

One reply on “RETRO REVERIE”

These images take me back to my early days at university with point and shoot cameras and seeing those grainy photos with 400 film.

I still have a few of those photos and they have faded and the colours have also changed over time.

I also love that Joe experiments and explores possibilities with old film to produce his images!

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