My first roll of Film Washi V

A few months ago, Jason and Claude of Greenwich Cameras convinced me to try out a roll of Film Washi V: a hand-crafted black and white film on Japanese gampi paper.

Somewhat sceptical I bought a roll – sceptical not because of their advice (they are amazing: seriously, go and see them, if you are a photographer in the South-East of England!), but because of the material and the foreseeable pains of developing it. Then again, I already had fun with with Washi F – so why not give it a go.

And so I did this weekend.

The film is rated as 100 ISO, and the weather this weekend was just right for that: partly overcast and cloudy, partly sunny, but not at all dark.

Loading the film into my Rolleicord was straightforward – the film (in its medium format variety) is no different from any other roll film (the 35mm version requires greater caution, as the film obvously is somewhat fragile and 35mm film, unlike its 120 counterpart, isn’t attached to backing paper).

Twelve shots later, the roll was finished, and it was time to experiment with tray development (there is a fiddly way of getting film into a reel, but I don’t have the equipment or patience to try it out). 4’30 min. in HC-110 developer, gentle agitation – stop bath, fixer, rinsing, and, voilà, it was done.

Drying takes a while (it is paper, after all), and the film needs straightening out after drying (just press it between heavy books, for example).

The results?

Well, I was very pleased indeed.

Here are some shots of structures (from London and Reading):

And what about people shots?

That’s certainly possible too:

Next step: enlarging and printing!

I’m certainly hooked straight away, and I love the way in which the texture of the film and the image form something unique and spectacular – it feels as though the post-apocalypse and old photos found in a creepy attic had a baby (in a good way … if there is such a thing…?).

In short: Can’t wait to give this another try, and possibly do something similar in large format, too!

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