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Steven Cherry revisits 1969

Mr. Cherry was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, where he attended parochial school and was a boy scout. He attended military school in northern Indiana but was expelled at the end of eighth grade. He is an information technologist by trade and currently owns a 1920s storefront in historic Detroit, Michigan with his wife, Akita, and two cats. These images were shot on a junkstore Ansco Pioneer 620 on Pic Pac film that expired in 1969.

See more of Mr. Cherry's work on instagram at @doctor_alabaster

ALTER/ANALOG: Where do you find such old film?

SC: From auction websites mostly.  I bought a dozen exposed 120 rolls from the 70s at an estate sale and sometimes acquaintances give me old rolls they come across.

ALTER/ANALOG:  Have you had many instances where you on shoot old film and nothing turns out?

SC: It's rare in my experience. The Pic Pac 620 from 1969 was coherent.  I'll shoot any old film. It's best to get many rolls from the same lot in order to dial in the exposure.  They say one stop per decade expired. Without aperture, you just have to wing it.  My advice is to burn it up.

ALTER/ANALOG:  What got you interested in shooting film?

SC: After a 20-year hiatus I impulsively bought an expired 35mm disposable at the MOCAD gift shop and really liked the color shift.  A few years went by and my girl gave me her mother's Pentax Spotmatic. When the first rolls came back from the lab, I was inspired to stick with it. I feel like it's more expressive and human than digital.

ALTER/ANALOG:  What sparked your interest in alternative film processes?

SC: I bought my Ansco Pioneer at a rummage sale for five dollars thinking I could get 120 rolls to fit it.  When they refused to cooperate, I turned to the internet. For fifteen dollars, I managed three rolls and the spools I needed to roll 120 on to. I shot the film and the result is this primitive, medieval look that seemed sympathetic to the subjects I had chosen. I use the three spools by rolling 120 onto them in a bag.

I'm sitting on sixty rolls of cheap Chinese film from the 90s and have it pretty well dialed in for a future project.

Lately I've been thinking about exposing film in my darkroom to different types of light and then shooting it in a camera, see what happens. That and I've started to re-expose my estate sale bag of 120, the results are interesting. The artistic implications are mind bending.

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