Film swaps...a year ago, I had no idea what the term meant. But now I do! I have done a couple of them, both national and international. And I can say one thing: they are fun, exciting, and best of all, surprising!
It all started in March of this year, at the Fotografica Fair in Nieuwegein, the Netherlands. I joined a lomo meeting and met some very nice fellow lomographers. And suddenly one of them gave me a film and asked me: ‘Hey, want to do a film swap with me?’ The roll turned out to be already shot by Stephan (a.k.a. mephisto19) and I was supposed to shoot it again. He already took pictures at the Fotografica Fair. I said ‘yes’, not really knowing what to do, and put the roll of film in my bag. A couple of days later, I loaded the roll of film in my Olympus Trip 35. I was ready for my first film swap.
I took a trip to The Hague and Rotterdam and decided to takes pictures of colourful things. Then I had the roll developed and I scanned the negatives. I quite liked the results.
After that, about a month ago, Stephan gave me another roll to do a film swap. This time I won the roll during a Lomography workshop. The roll went with me on holiday to France and I shot it with my Ricoh KR-10X.
This concept of doing film swaps was growing on me. It was fun! And I wanted more! Through the international Lomography site I met Aurelio (a.k.a. Superlighter). He was looking for a particular brand of film, and I shipped some to him. In the package, I included a roll of film I had already shot in France, so we could do a film swap. Superlighter also shot the roll and sent me the results.
Do film swaps always give great results? Ehm, no. Of the three film swaps I’ve done so far, not all the shots were very good. The reason for this problem? It is sometimes tricky to get the shots exposed correctly. With doubles, it’s very important to underexpose your shots a little. When you overexpose, one of the layers will not show.
But it’s also very important not to underexpose to much. This also means one of the layers will not show.
As you can see, the results are always surprising because you don’t know what your swap partner has shot. And that makes a film swap a very exciting event. As with all analogue photography: sometimes the results are very disappointing. Will that keep me from doing another film swap? No, it is so much fun I organised a film swap on Flickr. There are rolls I shot in Italy, France, Canada, and the Netherlands waiting to be shot again. And I just received a roll from Iceland. Film swaps: keep them coming!