An Autumn Essay

Illustrated With My Purma Special and Holga Cameras

4 min read by Justino Lourenço.

The autumn’s here. The leaves drift slowly from the trees. The greens are fading slowly to pastel-brown. The night wins the daily battle with the sun early. The frost begins to sting. The winter is around the corner.

But the new colours and the dramatic change of scene make it all worthwhile.

For this essay, I chose my Purma Special and my old but lovely Holga.

Purma Special makes square exposures on 127 film format. What makes it special is how its shutter speeds are controlled. The 1/25s, 1/50s, and 1/450s modes are altered by changing the camera’s orientation.

My Holga is a trusty route companion — a famous plastic lens camera most film photographers would immediately recognize.

For Purma, I used Ilford HP5, a monochrome film, to bring out the form with the absence of colour.

The Holga used CineStill RedRum 200, a limited-edition redscale film that produces glowing red hues in place of regular colour, providing accent on shapes much like HP5 — just in a different way.

At Gaia and Porto, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Douro river, I found the perfect spot for my day of photo practice.

A sad and lonely tree, severely punished by the North Coast winds, is resting. The river, so calm it seems to freeze the time, just a few meters away from an angry ocean. The flowing waters crash into the salty depths as the crimson sunset spreads across the sky above.

RedRum 200, as I have found, was a fantastic choice of an emulsion to accentuate the beauty of the glowing colours of the evening sun.

I made a few squared construct shots built on small and simple forms with a minimalist nature pose. With the help of monochrome and redscale palettes, the essence of each scene was brought to life. And the irrelevant vanished amongst the dark grey and in strong red hues.

Final note: The adequate exposures with Purma and, in particular with Holga, were the result of intuition with tons of previous experimentation.