Working with an expired film stock can be tricky. In low-light situations, especially, the photographer has to make a couple of adjustments to make sure that images appear and are properly exposed. Some situations, though, transcend the expected and offer something much more appealing than the conventional shots.
Such is the case with Indonesian film photographer Arya Daffani's (@daffanie) spontaneous low-light photoshoot with a roll of expired Lomography X-Pro Slide 200. Inspired by an art installation in a coffee shop in Bandung's tourist district Punclut, the album seemingly invites the viewers into a fantasy or a brief dream, familiar yet somewhat incomprehensible.
Currently a college student, Daffani was born in Jakarta in 2000 and started shooting analogue when he was 18 after joining a photography club and looking for other alternatives to pricey digital cameras.
At that time our club would do a photoshoot studio to prepare for the Christmas celebration. I realized how stupid I was to have the courage to join the club even though I didn't have a digital camera.
Then I met someone who was selling old cameras at cheap prices, and finally, the Fujica M1 with the original flash became the first camera gear that drew me into film photography. I bought lots of cameras, tried different films, took them everywhere and shot them all the time.
Daffani has been using expired films from the start due to "lack of insight and ignorance as a beginner", as expired films are generally cheaper. He said he was able to buy four Kodak Vision3 rolls for 100 thousand rupiahs, or about six dollars in a lab in his area.
In one of the coffee shops there was a visual exhibit, and we had a low-light photo shoot with expired film. The photos are quite stunning for film [that expired in 2020].
His low-light photoshoot album was inspired when him and a friend visited a coffee shop in one of Bandung's tourist districts, Punclut. Taken with a Lomography X-Pro Slide 200 which expired in 2020, the photos are anything one can expect from expired films: some of the images are blurry or underexposed. Yet taken as a whole, the collection of photos come off as mysterious and intriguing.
Being a slow-speed slide film, the Lomography X-Pro Slide is best shot in sunny environments. As its name suggests, the slide film is also an unconventional film stock as it was recommended to be processed in C-41 chemicals for warmer colors, despite being a slide film. All in all, this makes the film stock an interesting one to shoot and the perfect fit for Daffani, who prefers to experiment with expired films and come up with unexpected shots.
Daffani tells us about his experience and preference for shooting expired films:
I did a portrait session in an indoor room (it was in a pretty bad condition). Not enough light and the model moves fast, it's a nightmare. Luckily my camera was equipped with an external flash which probably saved me. The image results are not bad, even though there was a lot of blur and underexposure.
Some of the results were satisfying for me. It was from that moment that I began to frequently dare to use expired films. I like taking pictures using expired film because there is a feeling where uncertainty about the results hits me, and when I see the results and it satisfies me, that feeling is like being very relieved.
Despite its unpredictability, Daffani said shooting with expired film satiates his curiosity and tendency to explore various things in film photography. A part of his motivation is also sentimental.
I'm curious about how the photos, colors, and nuances will be produced by various film manufacturers. Moreover, many films have been discontinued, I just want to know what the pictures look like and how lucky people are to be able to use them before the films become extinct.
I often get blank rolls and very blurry photos. Taking pictures using expired film is full of uncertainties and many influencing factors. But we won't know if we don't try, right? And you will not be able to handle expired film if you never learn from failure when shooting with it. Pay attention to the aspects, learn the tricks, and make the things above your guide for shooting with expired film. Just shoot and explore more. Experience will teach you later. Cheers!
We'd like to thank Daffani for sharing his insights and images with us! To view more of his work, visit his LomoHome.