Travel Diaries: Croatia in 35mm

They say its “hip” to be old-fashioned, wear vintage clothes, use things that are antique or do things the analogue way. But is it always? I personally don’t think so. I’m entrenched in two forms of creative expression, which by today’s standards, are clearly antiquated, yet have managed to see a resurgence. I buy/collect music on vinyl and shoot 35mm film. Not because its hip, but because it feels right and connects me emotionally to the activity, be it listening to music or taking photos.

I fell in love with listening to music when it was still on vinyl and I picked up photography when it was only on film, hence I feel a special connection with both these mediums. Professionally speaking, its hard to shoot 100% on film, but whenever I see an opportunity to, I take it.

My most recent travel was a 10-day drive through Croatia that started from the northeast in Zagreb, the capital, and finished in the southwest, in the city of Dubrovnik. When I packed my bags to leave on this trip, I took my trusty Nikon F100 with me and two rolls of film in addition to the partial roll that was still in the camera. By the time I was done with my trip, I had finished shooting 6 rolls of film in all, I didn’t see that coming! Traveller’s tip: Carry additional film and try not to buy en route, the little tourist shops sell film at insanely high prices.

So what was it like and how did I end up shooting six rolls of film? Croatia is a beautiful country. With picturesque landscapes and stunning architecture it truly is a country that should be discovered at a slower pace and preferably by road. Personally, I’d have loved to be on a motorcycle, but a car isn’t a bad option either. I enjoy shooting on film for a couple of reasons, first: it makes you slow down and really think about your photographs a lot more than you would when you shoot digital. Second: the lack of an instant result on the rear LCD forces you to care more about how you expose the scene based on the light, the film you’re using and your equipment. Travel photography, I believe, is best suited for film as you inherently want to be a part of the scene and understand it well before you start shooting. It also helps you to better appreciate the place that you are in since you aren’t walking around with a camera constantly plastered to your face. You stop, look around and think before you raise the camera to your eye and take a photo.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting a chronological recount of my trip with a special focus on the photos that I shot on film. I do hope you enjoy reading my posts and looking at my photos. Don’t hesitate to comment, ask questions or give me your feedback, I always look forward to hearing from you.

I’m going to leave this post with two photos I took in Zagreb on my very first day in Croatia. The first is a photo of a mural by the French artist, Etien. Last year this mural was voted as one of the top ten murals created in 2015. Painted on the side of an abandoned building that’s situated right in the middle of the city, this mural breathed new life into a building and a neighbourhood that was otherwise shunned by the residents of the city. This photo hardly does justice to how stunning the mural looks in person, but I hope to deliver a sense of its scale through this image. The second photo is of the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery which is situated across the abandoned building bearing the iconic whale mural. Located in the area of Zagreb, known as the Upper Town, this area offers beautiful views of the city.

Stay tuned for more photos!