Lake Garda, Revisited. / by Simeon Smith

No, unfortunately I haven’t been back to Italy in the past few weeks, but there’s this weird thing with experimenting with plastic film cameras, and that is that sometimes the experiments don’t work and instead of throwing away the images, you shrug, and clip them into a binder with the rest of your negatives, for no reason whatsoever.

And years later come across them and think - I wonder what is actually ON those negatives.

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I went to Lake Garda 3 years ago, and took a Holga 120TLR, which I since swapped for a bog standard Holga 120N (If it ain’t broke, don’t add a waist-level viewfinder), and a Lomography La Sardina 35mm point and shoot. 

The Holga shots came out beautifully, so beautifully in fact that one of them was selected by my Kickstarter backers to be the print they received with my book “Every Shot Matters”. 

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The La Sardina photos, though, didn’t really come out at all. I’d found a batch of expired Boots iso400 colour film and thought it’d suit the Sardina really well, but it was crazy sunny and bright every day in Italy, and the Sardina is fixed at f8. So the negatives mostly came out overexposed, and because the film base had darkened so much in the 15-odd years since it had expired, the automatic scanner at Neil’s place didn’t take them. Also, the negatives were scratched to high hell for some reason, maybe old brittle glue around the edges of the old canisters? My home scanner, also couldn’t pick up the images, and holding them up to a light revealed a very sorry sight indeed, so I put the negatives  away and forgot about them. 

With the Holga shots coming out so very well, I wasn’t in the mood for a salvage job on some shitty negatives.

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Fast-forward 3 years. 

Today it has been drizzly. I’m home alone with the kids, who haven’t wanted to do anything much apart from watch Youtube and play card games. We tidied the house, we popped out in the drizzle to run a couple of errands. 

You know the kind of Saturday. 

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The perfect Saturday to spend painstakingly masking off each individual frame that you think might work from ruined negatives from a trip you took 3 years ago. 

I hope you enjoy the images as much as I’ve enjoyed revisiting Garda. 

All photos shot to shitty and very-expired Boots brand colour film on a Lomography La Sardina.