Monday, November 11, 2019

[35mm Ohio] Cheap Fuji in Cleveland

The compact Canon “Autoboy 2” has been a fairly reliable ever since I “Frankenstein-ed” two non working models into one. On another trip to Cleveland, it was the only camera I brought along, opting for the simplicity of its operation after becoming exhausted from the frustrations of the previous trip.

Normally I order film online or swing by various Walgreens locations that usually still have non-expired Kodak 200 or 400. For whatever reason, I stopped at a CVS this time, only to discover that those outlets exclusively carry Fujifilm 35mm. The rolls they had were still a year away from expiring and a quick Instagram search showed others having decent results with this film type—so I grabbed a pack of three. 36 exposures (compared to basic Kodak’s 24) and being a cheaper price was a nice bonus as well, plus the purchase meant I didn’t have to make another stop while already running late and burning daylight.

I ended up shooting nothing on the way up, my only pauses in driving being for rest stops with candy and semi-clean bathrooms. Reunited with Laura, we set off the next morning to find a nice spot where we could relax and write. She brought us to the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

It’s happened a few times lately—when armed with film, digital, or both—that I’ve become so struck by a location that I can’t sit still and need to wander around aimlessly, totally unconcerned about anything except that physical space. Maybe that was all fueled by a twitchiness of too much coffee, but the Cleveland Museum of Art is unlike any place I’ve ever been. It’s a magnificent spot to not just sit, relax, and write—but to wander, even if you’re like me and don’t take in any of the actual exhibits. The atrium between the main buildings feels like a European train station and when the sun cuts down through the glass—it’s just... beautiful (and in a way that an 80s auto camera may not accurately reflect). This place, at that moment in the warm October sun, was perfect.

A few frames made on Fuji Superia X-tra 400 with a Canon Autboy 2:

I also made some digital frames as insurance since my confidence in the Autboy isn’t high. Those frames are here.

Quickly traversing the nearby campus of Case Western Reserve University we took in “Judy’s Hand” by Tony Tasset (let this photograph serve as a reminder to cut the god-damned wrist strap off the Autoboy because I keep letting it sneak into frames)...

...and the Peter B Lewis Building designed by Frank Gehry (the famed architect also has Ohio buildings in Cincinnati and Toledo).

On my way out of town and with Fall in full effect of hampering the daylight, I wandered Cleveland for a bit. I had a look at a few crumbling industrial buildings on the city’s East Side—reminders of when urban exploration was my top photographic priority. Scoping out the graffiti and tags on these structures, I felt a bit nostalgic for braver days of recreational trespassing, even though anything I had to say later came out in online or print words rather than emblazoned on a structure (and I say that with respect for those who have something to share and chose to do it on walls high above everyone else).

I came across what’s apparently the city’s municipal vehicle graveyard—a lot full of totaled police cars, trash trucks, and various other automobiles. I had initially pulled in just to turn around and wasn’t sure if it was cool to be there, but the two officers and a tow truck dropping off a fresh addition didn’t seem to mind. They all simply nodded while depositing a roughed-up ‘Crown Vic.’

I ended the first roll of green-tinted, cheap Fuji when I pulled down a side street and came across a mural by Cleveland-based artist Lauren Mckenzie.

Not content to drive off just yet, I loaded up another roll and went looking for more. Continued.