Have you ever heard of Arista Premium 400. I honestly had not until a few years ago when I was able to get an interview with L.A. photographer Estevan Oriol (LATACO Interview) back in late 2013. During our interview I was able to see the film he stored in small fridge under his desk at his old SA Studios office. I noticed this canister of burgundy with black lettering. Arista Premium. Estevan informed me that this film brand was one of his favorites and he had created allot of images with it. I was very interested in this film after that meeting.
Doing some research and looking up places to purchase this film I learned that Freestyle Photographic Supplies were the main proprietors of this particular film. With that piece of information I made a trip to their warehouse in Santa Fe Springs and made a purchase for a pack of film. 10 rolls for a lil over 30 dollars. Definitely a steal in my opinion. I went thru that film pretty quickly. Using two cameras, a Canon Autoboy 2 and my Olympus OM-1. Unfortunately with my developing habits I did not get to see my results for a few months.
In mid 2014 I finally began to develop some of my rolls. My first impression was that the grain on this film was so cherry. My favorite film type is Ilford and Kodak TMAX 3200 which has grain that you just can’t replicate. The tones were pretty great and the images were fun. Timely. With each negative scanned I enjoyed the film more. So I purchased more. Blowing thru roll after roll. Building a nice pile of undeveloped film in my fridge. It was great to see.
On a trip to Freestyle in November of 2014, I again purchased some rolls of Arista. That’s when I get the news. The woman on the counter informs me that Arista Premium 400 that I had just discovered is set to be discontinued. I proceed to ask numerous questions about making my final purchases of this particular film. I keep making trips and was updated with news that I have till March of 2015 to stock pile. After that it’s all gone. All said and done I was able to get my hands on 60 rolls film. The rest distributed to schools and universities that still use Arista for their film photography courses.
Slowly I have been shooting some rolls here and there. I just recently started to dig into my stock pile. I’m currently sitting on 45 rolls of undeveloped black and white film. It’s tough to just not shoot it. I can visualize my shots and just go thru the rolls like I normally do. But I am resisting and being patient. Making more thoughtful decisions and keeping this film available to me just a lil’ big longer. Prolonging the inevitable. It’s the state of photography currently. Film types are discontinuing and this is a time to catch them. Don’t wait until the last minute to try film you have never used. Snap some photos with it. Add it to your archives. You may not see it around for very long.