I have always been fascinated by the way the medium and the media can be affected by slightly altering the mechanics used to generate an end product. In 1982 I was working for a museum doing research, documenting objects and making photographic large display prints mainly using either original glass slides or 35mm film.

During this time working in a fairly improvised photo lab I came across a container with a large roll  of duplicating 35mm microfilm which fitted into standard 35mm camera canisters. When used in a standard camera and developed and then printed onto normal photo paper it had unbelievably high resolution for the time with a very fine particle size and an unusually  overall high contrast.

As I understood it – it was mainly designed for making copies of microfiche files etc so it had a natural bias for the high resolution and high contrast required to duplicate all the detail. There were not many options in film types commonly available at the time – just your average exposure films like Kodachrome,  Agfa & Ilford B&W and so I thought this would give me something really interesting to play with. You can see similar film used now for making duplicate archival copies of old 35MM film rolls – but I’m still not sure whether the film I found was designed for doing that. (e.g.  http://www.microfilm.com/supplies/diazo-silver-film ).

The roll of film was not being used for anything and no one either wanted it or even knew why it was there so I set about using it and testing it out. Slowly rolling out new canisters for my 35mm camera – it was not well labelled and I eventually only got about 12 rolls out of what was there and have never seen or used it again.  It had an iso rating of just 12 printed on the original large storage canister so the exposure in the camera was very experimental till I got something that worked – especially in low light.

It had very weird exposure results taking general snaps and did some very odd things when printed out onto various grades of photo paper using standard silver processing.

I started to use it to take photos of everyday subject material to see what would happen. I spent about 3 months taking snaps out the windows of buses at street scenes around the city (in Auckland NZ) and then some standard landscapes and portraits. This also involved using many techniques such as making some of them multi exposures just for experimental fun etc.

I had some very interesting and unexpected results during that time and captured some quite unusual scenes and images. I especially enjoyed the snaps taken through bus windows as I travelled around looking for random moments to capture. Here are some of the results…


Shopping lady : K-Road Auckland NZ : 1982


Shop excavation: K-Road Auckland NZ : 1982


Lisa : Auckland NZ : 1982


On road : Auckland NZ : 1982


Wall : Auckland NZ : 1982


Sign : Auckland NZ : 1982