Photography Lover Spends Four Years Illustrating 1,000 35mm Film Boxes

Ogapan Film Box Illustration by Akil Alparslan

For four years, photographer and illustrator Akil Alparslan set aside a few hours a day to work on an ambitious project. Nostalgic for the days when he shot on film, Alparslan had initially set out to draw a box of the Fujicolor HR 400 film he used when starting out. The intent was to print it and set the 2D replica next to his camera. But this initial illustration spun into a deeper project, one that spanned several years and ended with 1,000 illustrations of 35mm film boxes.

Alparslan's digital illustrations are both an homage to times gone by and a meticulous collection of film history. From big names like Polaroid, Agfa, and Kodak to a niche brand like Ogapan, Alparslan worked on each 35mm box with the same amount of precision and detail.

“I was able to reproduce these colorful and cute boxes that were lost in time; it was such a nice, refreshing feeling,” the Turkish artist tells My Modern Met. “Although I started the project to keep my memories alive, my aim has evolved and changed to concentrate on a great graphic work that has not been done before.”

To get each box exactly right was the biggest challenge of the project. While Alparslan spent a lot of time devoted to research, scouring books, magazines, advertising brochures, and the internet, it was not always easy to find images of all sides of the box. However, finding all the graphics and being able to complete the drawing was one of Alparslan's favorite parts of the process.

The fonts also presented a challenge, with Alparslan having to draw some of the characters himself. But, in the end, all of the time and effort were worth it. Not only did he meet his goal of designing 1,000 boxes, but he also created a beautiful resource for photography lovers.

“Anyone who is a film photographer and is at an age where they remember the times they saw film boxes on the shelves is happy to see this project,” he shares. “It reminds many of those days they forgot in their photography adventures. It is also a colorful visual collection that will encourage young people to take up film photography.”

To see all of the film boxes Alparslan designed, check out the FilmLab Flickr.

Akil Alparslan spent four years illustrating 1,000 different 35mm film boxes.

Film Box Illustration Project by Akil Alparslan

The impressive collection spans everything from Kodak and Agfa to more niche brands.

Kodak Ektar Film Box Illustration by Akil Alparslan

Fujicolor HR400 Film Box Illustration by Akil Alparslan

AGFA BW APX 100 Film Box Illustration by Akil Alparslan

Gratispool Color 35 Film Box Illustration by Akil Alparslan

Trifca Film Box Illustration by Akil Alparslan

Akil Alparslan: Flickr

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Akil Alparslan.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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