Ilias moved from Athens to Vienna 4 years ago to study process engineering at TU Wien. When he first moved to Vienna, he owned a cheap digital camera to figure out the basics of photography, but soon realized he had lost his heart to Photography. Later on, he discovered analog Photography and only a short while ago bought his very first Medium-Format Camera. In this article Ilias shares the Series he shot with his first 120-Film, a Lomography Color Negative 100, and his thoughts about Photography and the Film.
Why did you start shooting analog? What is the analog charm for you?
Having invested all my savings in a digital camera, analog photography didn’t really matter to me at the beginning. All changed in the summer of 2020 when I started hanging out with some friends of mine who were shooting analog. For me, this opened up a totally new world. I couldn’t believe the aesthetics that I had been trying to replicate with a lot of editing were so easy to achieve in an even more authentic way. Luckily my family owned some old analog cameras and so I decided to give analog a try. I shot my first roll of film with a Leica M2 in Athens. Everything was so different from what I was used to, everything was manual, and the camera didn’t even have a light meter. When I got the scans back from my lab I was amazed. How could a camera from 1957 deliver such great results and capture the unique Athenian light in a way that I had never been able to do before. This was the moment when I got hooked. Since then I am almost exclusively shooting analog.
Which equipment do you use?
I started my analog journey with two amazing cameras, a Leica M2 and a Nikon FM2, but like almost everybody in the analog community, I quickly started looking around for new cameras. My first purchase was a Canon AF35M, that was easy to carry around in order to capture some more spontaneous and intimate moments with friends and family with the vibe that only an analog point and shoot can offer. Having shot various rolls of 35mm film I started thinking about medium format. Although the smoothness, clarity, accurate color rendering, and shallow depth-of-field speak for themselves, the price is considerably higher both for medium format cameras and the cost per frame. Nevertheless, I started looking at used camera sites for something that would allow me to shoot medium format without having to spend a fortune. After a couple of weeks, I found a Franka Solida from 1950 in excellent condition and just couldn’t resist.
Why did you choose the CN 100? What do you particularly like about it?
Having bought the medium format camera I had to choose my first roll of film. And this is a tough decision. Although the vast selection that existed a couple of years ago is no longer available, for me personally it is still a complicated process to decide which film to load into my camera. As I knew, that I was going to shoot the entire roll in a very colorful environment I immediately eliminated black and white films. As I try to be very intentional with my photos I started looking at the work of other photographers trying to imagine if a particular film could reproduce what I had in my mind. After some research, I concluded that the Lomography CN 100 was exactly what I was looking for. Accurate color rendering, pastel-like tones, and an impressive dynamic range for a price that is just unbeatable.
What was it like to shoot 120 Film for the first time? What were the main differences compared to 35 mm Film and how did you like it?
Having mainly shot 35mm film I had to get used to the new square format of my 6x6 medium format camera. Besides that, the transition was relatively easy. The big surprise came when I got my scans back. The negatives were huge and had captured an amazing level of detail with minimal grain whilst still having the smoothness and flawless color transitions that made me fall in love with analog photography in the first place.
Can you tell us a bit about the photographs? How do you decide on a motif?
When shooting analog you have to be very selective of what to shoot as the number of frames is limited. That is why I like to take time before shooting a photo. For me it’s a bit of meditative practice. I choose my subject based on the feeling that it is giving me. Each frame is something that I personally find aesthetically pleasing and try to capture in the best possible way. Obviously, the result is not always what I imagine when pressing the shutter but that is what makes analog photography so exiting and full of surprises.
Do you have a favorite image from this series? If yes, why do you like it especially?
My favorite Photo on this roll is the one with the gate. For me, this photo combines everything that I love about analog photography and photography in general in one frame. The bluish colors, the orange tone of the gate, and the clear sky give me a warm feeling of calmness. In particular, the interaction between light and shadow and the texture of the wall has this certain aesthetic effect that only analogue can produce and that is why I love this photo.
Many thanks to Ilias for sharing his work and thoughts with us! Check out his Instagram and leave some Love! And when you got hooked on the Look of the Color Negative 100, you can check it out in our Online Shop.