In your bag No: 1575 – Thomas Van der Heyden

Thomas checks in to share how some family heirlooms gave him the film bug and he hasn’t looked back since.

My name is Thomas Van der Heyden. I am a student Cross Media Management and live in the beautiful city of Antwerp in Belgium. My adventure in the realm of film photography started not so long ago, in May 2017.

I was rummaging through some stuff in my grandfathers garage and found a really nice, albeit strange looking Voigtländer Vito CLR. As I am quite interested in history, vintage watches and oldtimers, etc. my interest was sparked. When I got home I did some research about the camera and even ordered some Kodak Tri-X 400. I wanted to see if this thing was still working after all those years. Unfortunately it wasn’t. The shutter was stuck and I didn’t want to disassemble this nice looking camera without any knowledge. After a while it landed on a shelf in my room where it’s still residing.

Now I was left with these rolls of kodak film but no camera, so I started looking online and found a Praktica FX3 with a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar. It looked new and came with a with all the original paperwork. I shot the rolls and got them developed. The waiting time was a week and I was really excited to see the results. When I got the negatives back I was rather disappointed by the results. They had all been affected by light leaks. It looked like the shutter curtain had been carpet bombed. I was able to save some of the pictures but most of them were doomed by the light leaks. But his was not the end. My interest in film photography didn’t fade. After all, these were all valuable lessons.

Since then I have learned a lot and also bought and sold many film cameras. From Canon and Nikon SLR’s to Soviet rangefinders. But this stopped when I bought a rough looking Leica M2 from 1960, which was accurately described as “A great user camera with some marks and a dent in the top plate.” The lens is a Summarit 50 1.5 from 1951. My Gear Acquisition Syndrome was partially (still looking for another lens) cured by the M2 and I focus more on taking photographs. I started developing my own b&w film and I am planning to build a darkroom with my dad so I can enlarge my negatives.

The setup from the picture is not 100% realistic. As a student I need to go to class most days so I leave the Mamiya at home but the M2 is always with me. When I really go out to just shoot photographs I also take the Mamiya C220 along. It belonged to my father who used it to shoot weddings in the 70’s but he’s gone all digital now and loves his FujiFilm X-Pro 2.

The fieldnotes notebook comes in really handy to write down details when I am taking photographs and the Moleskine is for class notes. The rest is rather self explanatory. My Macbook and iPad for schoolwork, some writing utensils, a Gossen lightmeter, yellow filters for both cameras, a few rolls off HP5+ (I actually prefer Kodak TX400 but ran out), my phone, wallet and lighter.

 You can find some of my pictures on my Adobe Portfolio and my Instagram page.

Thanks for reading!

Best regards,

Thomas Van der Heyden

Thanks for organizing and sending in such a nice bag shot Thomas. Your OG Summarit reminds me of the intense regret I feel from selling mine years ago…

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