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Hollywood Photography


Hollywood Photography

Have you seen Kong: Skull Island yet? The 2017 movie follows an expedition to a mysterious island at the end of the Vietnam war. Not long after arriving on the island the expedition stirs things up which bring forth the mighty Kong to protect his home and most of the creatures that live there. 

This expedition is made up of researchers, scientists, military personnel, a tracker and a photographer. The photographer is portrayed by Brie Larson, who you will probably recognize from films like Scott Pilgrim vs the World, 21 Jump Street and Room, which she won a Best Actress Oscar for. In the special features from the Blu-Ray there is a small documentary about Larson's photography skills on set as described by director Jordan Vogt-Roberts.

The idea was to provide Larson with a working on screen camera, which was a ultra rare Leica KE-7A military issued camera from that Vietnam war time period. To make the role more authentic Vogt-Roberts made sure that film was in the camera and Larson had the freedom to shoot real photos while on set. Pretty cool. Not to mention the photos are terrific and the camera is one piece of photography gear that sees collectors paying over $20,000 for one. There is currently a 1972 Leica KE-7A camera on sale at the link in caption below for just over $21,000 CDN. 

Leica KE-7A 'US Army' from

Larson also had her own camera, an iconic Canon AE-1 with her, to take photos on set as well. While the Leica KE-7A is ultra rare and expensive, the Canon AE-1 is anything but. It was a mass produced camera by Canon between 1976-1984 (according to Wikipedia) and found its way into photographers hands across the globe. You can still find these iconic cameras for a couple hundred dollars with their bare bones simplicity and image quality being the key to their awesomeness. In a March 2017 USA Today article it mentions that it was Larson's own camera that she has had since high school. Here is a link to that story;

Photos by Brie Larson

Larson using a film camera on set was interesting to me because of the level of intimacy captured in the images while being able to shoot freely on set to be a more authentic character. In the USA Today article it is mentioned that she didn't develop the rolls of film for a few months. That excitement between shooting a roll of film and getting to see the prints in your hand is thrilling. There is something extremely gratifying to look at a print from a roll of film days, weeks, or months later. It is a feeling that shooting digital and getting instant viewing of that image just can't duplicate in my opinion. 

Just thought I would share as I thought it was pretty cool and being able to capture images on a movie that is being shot in locations like Oahu and Vietnam would be amazing.

Banner Photo from IMDB


A Roll Of Film


A Roll Of Film

Last weekend I decided to finally take my dad's old film camera, a Minolta Maxxum 5xi which was made in 1992, mainly because of a mysterious roll of film still in the camera. A roll of film with sixteen exposures already taken out of the twenty four available. 

My dad passed away suddenly on June 28 2015 and my mom cannot remember the last time she saw him use the old film camera so knowing what was on the roll of film was a tantalizing mystery. This was by no means his first film camera as there are photo albums at my mom's house with pictures he took dating back to the 1960s. He had moved into the digital world like everyone else and had been using a Sony DSLR for as long as I can remember. Thinking about when this roll of film could have been placed in the camera and when the last shot was taken peaked the interest even more. 

Minolta Maxxum 5xi 35mm film camera with a AF 35-70mm f3.5 lens

Back in the summer of 2015, after he passed, I found the camera and noticed the film canister through the little view window but decided to leave it alone and packed it back up. Over the Thanksgiving weekend I finally decided to take the camera and see if I could get the film developed and share the images with family despite a part of me wanting to leave the film in the camera yet again. 

My previous experience with film involved point and shoot cameras and disposable cameras which my dad would make sure I took with me when I was a kid for road trips and field trips (including shooting an entire roll of film at the Royal Tyrel Museum with my finger over the flash in grade 3 or 4).

I decided it would be best if I finished the roll of film in the camera as I could hear my dad in my ear saying 'what are you doing? Don't waste that film, finish it off'. We decided to go to the park to take a few landscape shots to fill up the roll. I could not wait to drop off the film. 

The back of the Minolta Maxxium 5xi - no LCD screen to check your histogram or composition

On Thursday afternoon I dropped off the roll of film at the local London Drugs photo lab, one of only a few places to process film I was told. The wait between Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon at 4:00pm was surprisingly exciting. In a world where we want and get things instantly it was refreshingly satisfying to slow things down and have to wait. As it turned out, I had to wait another day as a film processor at the photo lab went down and needed repairs. The extra wait did nothing to curtail the excitement. 

There it is, the highly anticipated roll of film - sixteen of those twenty four exposures are a complete mystery

When I got the envelope of photos I couldn't wait to open it. I had to see them and I had to see what the camera last saw and captured. Knowing my dad, I fully expected to find some pictures of family, perhaps his grandkids, and/or the farm.

Opening up the envelope and seeing the first few pictures I could not help but smile as I was looking at photos of family during Christmas, my youngest sister opening up birthday presents and an Easter egg hunt. It took me and my sisters a little while to try and figure out when these photos were taken and we think they span from Christmas 2006 through Easter 2007. Decade old photos finally get to be seen and all I can do is smile at them. They are by no means the best photos in the world. They won't be published or made into large prints and hung on a wall somewhere. But they are going to be something that our family will cherish forever. 

I am going to keep shooting the film camera, I even picked up a few rolls of film. I am thoroughly enjoying the process of shooting with a film camera gear, the re-educating myself on photography principles that sometimes get taken for granted when shooting digital and the thrill of not being able to see what you just shot is a little addicting. I have already caught myself taking a photo and moving to look at the back of the camera for a LCD screen that doesn't exist. Plus the sound of a film camera shutter click awesome!