It began in the Earth year 2020, with the founding of the last of the Babylon films, located deep in neutral space. It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats... and travelers from a hundred worlds. Could be a dangerous place – but we accepted the risk, because Babylon 13 was our last, best hope for peace.

The packaging

So Lomography has created another "new" film stock. They took ORWO DN21, "a film for the production of black & white intermediate negatives," put it into 135 canisters, and now sell it as "Babylon", a Kino film at ASA 13. Lomography claims this film "captures life’s most emotive moments in detailed tender renderings" and "delicately imbues frames with nuanced nostalgia". Uhhhh... what? Ok, they also do say its panchromatic, and has "sharp detail, low grain and subtle gradient transitions," so they at least provide some sort of concrete description. For what it's worth, the official notes on DN21 say it has "panchromatic sensitisation" which produces "well-balanced grey values," but since this isn't exactly DN21, all bets are off.

look at the weird blue color of the film

so how is it?

Well, at ASA 13, it's now one of the slowest photographic films out there right now. So be prepared to shoot long exposures, wide open, or tons of light. I did a combination of the three using a Contax S2. The Babylon does have these absolutely lovely dark grays to it's rendering. If you're looking for a moody, dramatic film, this Babylon is a candidate.

But then there's the Lomography aspect to this... the film stock seems maybe intentionally damaged? Trying to make it look aged maybe? Or maybe it really is aged? I do not know. I found plenty of weird banding, specks, and smearing in my photos. But it's a Lomography film. They're not seeking perfection. Don't shoot Babylon if you want immaculate negatives.

some dust and random smears for you, and no it's not a light leak notice the horizontal banding across the image

anything else?

A film this slow lets you shoot at maximum aperture at times where you might otherwise not be able to. So many of these photos I shot at f/1.4, and with my lens's halation, this resulted in a dreamy, soft-focus effect. Neat! I didn't expect it, but I liked it. It's a look well-matched to the film's contrasty grays.

soft focus and some overexposure samples for you

I made a Flickr group

I posted some photos on Flickr and went to add to them to the matching group for the film, only to discover that it doesn't exist. So I made it. Join. Put your Babylon 13 photos in it.

(Warning: many of the upcoming links contain 18+ material.)

Do not be fooled by the pretender groups proclaiming the false Babylons, for Flickr's search algorithm cannot distinguish between our fine new film stock and the Black Hebrew Israelite community (or the Alternative Mormon Swingers either).

Via the Flickr False Babylon groups, we enter the world of Franklyn Victor Beckles, Jr., also known as Azariyah Ben Yosef, at various times a professed Reverend, Doctor, Pastor, Elder, Lieutenant, Captain, and/or Bishop. He's a "notable internet icon" and a "renown church pastor" and "christian celebrity" who claims to have worked as a cop, firefighter, "true" firefighter, and actor. He's a "famous daycare director" and a "movie star" and "reality TV star" and "Renown Published Book Author and TV Evangelist" and "More of a Hero & Firefighter than anyone in AMERICA!!!". What does seem to be true is that he was a Christian minister of some sort who left the church after he "discovered that Christianity is based on Paganism and lies by the Roman Catholic Church." He has now applied his considerable self-publishing talents to creating immense walls of text in service of what may be the Black Hebrew Israelite community.

Wading through his megaparagraphs is left as an exercise for the reader, but luckily for us with a short attention span, he has ALL CAPSed the important parts, so we can quickly learn of his "BATTLE AGAINST THE CORRUPT RICHMOND COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION" and about "EXPOSING THE BEST KEPT SECRET IN AMERICA" and "THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE ISRAELITES" and also "THE BLACK WOMAN IS THE SEX SLAVE AND SERVANT OF THE BLACK MAN!!!!"

wait go back to that last part

Beckles, like all true wall of texters, has self-published many walls of texts in many mediums. Including on Amazon. Many of his books are free. But the one that attracted my attention has a picture of massively pregnant yoga lady on the front, costs $2.99, and has no reviews: BABYMAKERS: "A controversial story about charismatic religious leaders who start a anti-feminist movement and become famous."

I need to read this. It is my destiny. My life's purpose.

I put my hard-earned dollaridoos down and purchased this novella with its promise of six action-filled pages. And boy were my expectations met. The book begins with a dedication, this text is for his "parents, wife, and children". Then we jump right in, immediately setting the stage by repeating the well-known truism that modern feminism is destroying God's biblical principals, and that in response our (unnamed) true believer characters "carried on the sacred tradition of polygamist [sic]." Polygamy, really, seems to be the crux of the story. But who should qualify as our still-unnamed characters' sister wives? Why, "former sluts" and "beautiful human sperm banks and luscious sexy women," for the "men had exceptional taste in beautiful and sexy bastard women." We learn that our anonymous holy men protagonists can only "inseminate the bitches after marriage," because only then do they have the right to "inseminate as many of their sexy wives (whom were former whores) as they could."

After describing how busty and sexy the wives are, Beckles takes the reader through the list of their names and progeny. A list, which by pure happenstance, has many of the women with names similar to those of pornographic actresses. The list continues, unconcerned with abridgement in any form, in naked glory, for about half the length of the full text. Which then brings us to the dramatic conclusion. The ending is happy, of course, since the children were "conceived by over one hundred beautiful female models, busty bitches, and only luxurious women of their community" with our characters' fates being that they "eventually gained worldwide fame and fortune, becoming multi-billionaires!!!!"

Will there ever be a sequel to this heart-wrenching story? Perhaps if Beckles is ever so inspired. Which he may be, we learn, since he is kind enough to, in an endnote, share with us the divine guidance for his incredible tale. "BABYMAKERS" drew its influence from such sources as the movie The Babymakers (similar title a coincidence), and the TV show "Sister Wives", plus "Adult Entertainment websites for men" (remember when this book was dedicated to his parents, wife, and children?), and lastly, other books written by Dr. Franklyn Beckles. Ah, the mark of true genius, drawing inspiration from his own earlier works!

so... photography...?

Oh, yeah, Babylon 13. Whatever. It's fine.