An Honest Pictorial

An Honest Pictorial

Last Friday, an email from the film lab popped up in my inbox. It was lunchtime, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had developed and scanned all three rolls of 35mm that I had dropped off earlier in the week. I’m not the most patient person in the world, so I was in those folders faster than a dog snapping up table scraps.

The folders’ contents, however, forced me to slow down. Way down. Inside, I found more than 100 moments that I had lived in the past two months. From San Francisco to New Jersey, Portland to Seattle, every shot told a different story.

When I’m on assignment, digital photography is my top priority. Between my Canon R5, 5D and iPhone, I’m constantly juggling equipment to get the shot. Because every journalist needs one more camera, I almost always bring my bulletproof Konica C35 a roll of expired film. Sometimes I use it, and a lot of times I don’t.

But these three rolls were different, mainly because I wasn’t behind the lens for most of them. Instead, these were shots taken by friends who were right there in the action. They were living these moments too—in their own way. As I sit here at my desk, it’s difficult to tell who shot what. I love it.

These photos aren’t perfect, and they aren’t meant to be. The obsessive part of me wants to throw them in Photoshop to adjust the colors, straighten the lines and strategically crop modern things out of the background. There’s a time and a place for that—and this just isn’t it.

The following images are an honest, unedited glimpse into what I’ve been up to this fall. The black-and-white photos were shot on old Japanese traffic surveillance film, while the color images are of the expired slide film variety. Although I’m heavily biased, I think they both work just fine for showcasing these old machines in their natural environments—regardless of what year it is.

Joey Ukrop

Additional photography by Yama Azim, Lindsey Knott & others 

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