Shooting Film Pt. 2 – Medium Format

A few days after I posted about picking up my first Super 8 film camera, my mom shot me a text. “Hey, I think I have my old film camera in the closet somewhere. I’ll dig it out for you when you come up this weekend.” “Oh sweet!” I replied.

I knew my mom was a bit of an aspiring photographer towards the end of her time in high school. I’d seen some of the framed prints in the houses of family members. And there’s an iconic photo from my childhood of my dad’s ’87 Nissan Pulsar that I knew she took. But I honestly had kind of forgotten that, at one point, she had an interest in what I’m not pursuing professionally.

I expected her to have an old 35mm camera. Probably a Canon AE-1 or maybe some sort of Pentax. She brought out the caramel brown leather bag. I unzipped it and pulled out a heavy black rectangle. YASHICA in beautiful silver letters at the top. Mat 124 G beneath it.

“Oh wow, I thought you’d have a 35mm camera. This is medium format.”

“Do they still make film for it?”

“Yeah I’m pretty sure.”

I spent the next hour watching videos and reading articles all about this camera. How to load film, use the light meter, frame a shot, etc. On the way home I bought 3 rolls of film. Kodak Porta 400. Fuji Provia 160. And Ilford Delta 100.

Over the next week I shot all three rolls of film and had them developed. I made a few mistakes along the way and learned some of the peccadilloes of this particular camera, but ultimately I fell in love with the photos I was creating. And – perhaps more importantly – with the slow and thoughtful process of creating them.