Thursday, 26 February 2015

I've Noticed You Around

This photo is a sad representation of what was me repeatedly spotting a man dressed in a bright red jumpsuit all around town and finally getting up the nerve to ask him if I could take his photo as he walked past my favourite shooting spot and I thought 'serendipity.' Unfortunately he wasn't that keen to stick around so I only got one shot and I'm not sure it's really done the job in capturing him. Bugger. That is always going to be the problem with shooting on the street.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Mystery of the Man With the Ankh

The first of these photos, He Wore An Ankh, I've already shared on Flickr. The second is an outtake from that roll, the man revealing his Ankh to me. Both are quite interesting pictures but the face only one is more in keeping with the work I'm currently producing. But is it the one which the subject of the photo would like best?  In this case the man felt his Ankh necklace was worthy of unbuttoning his coat for.  This is how he wished to be represented. So should I have only shared that photo? Or neither if I didn't feel it fitted my theme? Or after they are taken is it up to me to choose what I wish to represent photographically and which image best suits that purpose? How important is it that the person being photographed gets to decide how they are portrayed? Or is the photograph a work of fiction/art to the point where it no longer matters and it is only about my intention as a photographer? I don't know the answer yet but I do know I am going to have to think more carefully about this in the future if these are the sorts of portraits I am going to be taking...

 The Man With the Ankh

The Man With the Ankh on Display

Friday, 20 February 2015

Inspiration #3 February

Because February is bleak and seemingly endless my photographic inspiration for this month seems to follow suit. I feel as if I need to be shooting more Foma 200 pushed to 800 and have everything black and white.

 Alexey Titarenko
 Francesca Woodman
 Lena Herzog- because it's Tim Roth!

Anders Petersen

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Portraits of a BadCatt

Here are a couple of portraits of my lovely partner and fellow photographer BadCatt Taken on Fuji Superia X-Tra 800, the outside shot is on expired film and the other one is not. I'm really falling for this film type. If you don't mind the slight lean towards blue or if you want to use that to your advantage then it's a pretty nice film to shoot in a wide variety of lighting conditions and with a nice level of grain to it.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Close Up Street Portrait #1

Recently I've been trying to conquer my fear of asking people if I can take their picture when out shooting on the street. Whilst I don't mind shooting without asking too much- there is an element of excitement to photographing without permission, I feel as if for the portraits I want to capture, I need to be able to get in closer to my subjects. I'm shooting with a 50mm lens and a very wide aperture so to capture a person I need to be much closer than can reasonably be achieved without asking. This photograph is from my first roll in which I started to do this. What I like about it is how mournful he looks. I wish I had looked more at the background though. I feel as if he could do with standing out more. Still, hopefully this is just the beginning. 

Friday, 13 February 2015

Organising Flickr

When I first started this blog I was just throwing images without much care onto Flickr just so I could have content and because I was proud of being able to produce anything at all with a film camera. However only six months later I'm entirely rethinking that approach. As I am only using the Minolta X-300 for this year and trying hard to concentrate on taking photos I think are interesting and technically accomplished I've also begun looking at what I was producing before and asking how representative it is of what I do or want to do. As such, over the past few days I've begun to reorganise and delete a lot of my old photos. Taking my photostream from somewhere near 110 images to just over 30. That has meant having to re upload any photos to this blog that were once hosted by Flickr and I've since deleted. This is a lot of photos. I think the process has been worth it though. Scrolling through my diminished Flickr I'm pretty proud of most of the photos either for what they are or for what they represent at what is still the beginning of my journey as a photographer. 

Screenshot from my revised Flickr feed with some portraits of Colcestrians I've still to show you. 

Monday, 9 February 2015


The photo I am going to share today (from the same HP5 roll as the previous post) is one which BadCatt and I have been disagreeing over. I say it's an alright portrait but nothing special but he really really likes it and I don't understand why. Sure it's got a decent tonal range and she has an interesting face but essentially it's just nothing more than a nice picture of a woman on the street. Right?

Friday, 6 February 2015


My latest roll of film has been a home developed roll of HP5 that I shot over a couple of days last week. For the first half of the film Badcatt and I went out into town and photographed strangers and the second half was a trip with my band to the coast to get some field recordings. Essentially we went fishing for sound.

This shot is one of the first I took on the roll. For some reason that day I was feeling really hesitant to ask people if I could photograph them. Until this guy came along and I realised I had to stop being stupid and just ask him. I'm glad that I did! 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Accidentally Expired Film

Because I'm not the richest of people I'm always looking for a film bargain and so when I saw a roll of pretty cheap Fuji Superia X-Tra 800 going on Ebay I snaffled it up. Snaffled without first looking at the expiry date. My bad. This one expired in 2007. Not quite what I was looking for. Especially considering that I didn't know how it had been stored and the film would definitely have lost some sensitivity over the 7 or so years it has been out of date. So I didn't have particularly high hopes when I shot through the roll. 

The day BadCatt and I wet out to shoot was freezing cold and overcast and probably entirely wrong for taking photographs at all and for the first half of the roll I just didn't know what to shoot and everything felt like crap. Eventually I took one photo that I thought might be okay and from there, mentally at least I felt like I was improving. 

Anyway, when it came to developing and scanning the film I was pretty surprised to see that some of the images were actually okay. The emulsion was doing something weird though in that it picked up yellow really clearly and green hardly at all. I can't wait to shoot this film again but an in date roll and see what it does. 

Here are a couple of shots I took as it started to get darker out. Not great, but interesting for the colours and ability in low light,,.


Monday, 26 January 2015

Pushing Fomapan 200 to 800

I'm not a huge fan of Fomapan 200. Whenever I use it I'm always disappointed by the amount of grain and something in its sharpness. To be honest I don't know if that last part is the film but regardless, we don't always click. But I am not the most well off of people at the minute and it is a pretty cheap option. The problem is that I want to experiment with a certain type of photography without having the film or funds with which to purchase said film available to do so. So I have to improvise. A week or two ago I had an ideaas to what to do with the couple of rolls of Foma 200 that I had kicking around. I thought it might be fun to have a go at pushing them to 800. A quick scour of the internet revealed that it is't something people have tried that often and there seemed to be no fixed agreement as to how it should be done so I decided to go for it and just see what happened.

I was expecting a high grain negative similar to that which you might get from Delta 3200 or similar speed films. I was also expecting it to not really work. With that in mind I blew through a roll of 24 exposures pretty quickly and figured out that in DDX 1:9 it needed to be developed for 20 minutes. That seemed scarily long but the rough calculations from the Massive Development Chart seemed to suggest it so like a wimp I let BadCatt bite the bullet for me and develop the film. This is how it turned out.

Self Portrait, Minolta X-300 with Fomapan 200 pushed to 800. 

I'm incredibly pleased with the results. This is definitely how all future rolls of Foma 200 will be shot. What is interesting is that actually the grain isn't that much more pronounced shooting this way than at 200 and the faster speed film will be much more versatile and suited to the kind of shots I want to take in black and white.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

I'm in a Band

Zenit E (including its sexy light leak) Fomapan 200, home developed in DDX

Phil from my band The Wingless Heron  rehearsing this past summer. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Colourising Old Family Photos

I recently tried my hand at using Photoshop to colourise a couple of old photos including this one of my grandparents on their wedding day. It's a really interesting thing to do but very time consuming. Each individual section of colour has to be produced separately whilst also keeping an eye on the overall scheme of the image. It's not something I'd like to do a lot of, I'd go crazy if I tried. It is however a pretty interesting thing to try once or twice. I decided to give it a go after stumbling across an article on this person. Who can also be found on Instagram. I have no idea how they can do it on a regular basis. I can only assume they have a much better (read larger) computer screen than mine to work on. Anyway, without further ado, here is my attempt.

                            Carla and Philip on their wedding day.     Before   and   after colourisation. 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


Did I mention recently how much I love Ektar 100? The colours it has managed to produce for this shot are just beautiful. It also gives that dreamlike quality which isn't blur but makes everything look cinematic and almost like it's been colourised. Speaking of, I tried my hand at colouring a couple of old b&w images in photoshop the other week. I'll have to post them up here.

I didn't really mean to take this image, I think I was intending on having a head but this is much better. One day I might learn how to control these things more but for now I'll just let photos like this pleasantly surprise me. It makes me think of suburban housewives or the flat colour of certain types of advertising campaigns.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Being the Model

Recently I've begun to use myself more in photos. It's not something I've ever really thought to try before. I don't take a lot of selfies. I'm not particularly interested in me as a photographic subject. I am however interested in women as subjects. The photos I want to take would involve female models and I don't have the money to pay or willing female friends and so if I want to achieve a look I am interested in that means I have to use myself. The downside is that either I have to get BadCatt to help me take the photos or I'm relying on positioning myself right within the limits of my 10 second self timer. Which seems to work with varying degrees of success. What I think I need to do is set up the shot, work out where I need to be, take some prep photos with my iPhone on self timer and then take the actual shot when I've marked out exactly where I should be. These are thoughts for the future though.

For now I'd like to share two photos taken yesterday with my Minolta X-300 loaded with Ektar 100 (I'm in love with this film.) I tried to map out roughly where I should sit using the floor tiles and the stars on the wall as a guide. My camera, attached to the tripod was sitting on an ironing board and I could only half see through the viewfinder to take the photos. Hence a little bit of serendipity came into play with how these ended up looking but I'm not complaining. Sometimes you need that luck. 

Minolta X-300, Ektar 100, f 5.6 1/2 (I think)

Minolta X-300, Ektar 100, f 5.6 1/2 (I think)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Wrong Camera Again

This photo was taken on my iPhone 4S just before Christmas. I wish it had been taken on my Minolta but then didn't bring it with me. As always, a mistake. Have I mentioned how you should always carry a camera around with you? A proper and satisfying one. Imagine with me how this might have looked on Ektar 100. Sigh.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Trains, Tracks and Stations Obsession

This photo was taken on my way back from Bristol with BadCatt at a station which was just too aesthetically right not to photograph. It's not perfect but all the photographic elements I appreciate are there. Night time, a station, complex industrial backdrop, interesting colour palette and a lone person.

Minolta X-300, Ektar 100, 1/2 at f4 (I think)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

New Year Neglect

I've really neglected this blog for a while now. Sorry! It's basically a mixture between not having money to shoot any film, the standard thing of just forgetting to update and the cold weather coming along which always makes me more apathetic. Anyway, happy new year to anyone who stumbles over here and on to the post.

I wanted to talk today about one of the main problems I have found with shooting film. Namely, not having the right tools on me for capturing a specific photo. I have a couple of cameras that I use on a regular ish basis, the Minolta X-300 and my Reader's Digest Panoramic being the main two. Normally I'll go on a walk with one or the other and just concentrate on taking the photos that are right for the specific camera. Sometimes though, I am presented with a photo opportunity that is just so perfect for the camera that I happen to have left at home. Disappointing bastard! A few weeks ago this situation presented itself to such a degree I'm still kicking myself now over the missed opportunity. I had to take a parcel to the post office so I'd gone down there armed with a roll of Fompan 200 in my panoramic camera. As I was standing at the level crossing waiting for a train to come, a photo presented itself that would have looked beautiful on my Minolta which was loaded with Ektar 100. Instead I had to settle for taking a couple of colour shots on my iphone 4s and a few panoramas that I had no real faith in.

iPhone 4s

The thing is that the iPhone picture is quite adequate small. It captures perfectly how the scene looked, the woman's coat and the sign above her are the perfect shade of red. It all works. But if you were to try to make it much bigger than this, all quality would immediately be lost. Now imagine the same shot but on the Ektar 100 with its lovely colours and fine grain. As for the cropped panoramic image I got. Well black and white completely fails to capture anything interesting. It is all there but it is colour that I am after. Did I mention how I'm still pissed about this?

I'm hoping that this year will be different though. I've decided that I need to learn more about the technical aspects of taking a photograph and concentrate less on lomographic results. As such I've decided that after I've got through the rolls of film that are in my Zenit E, the Smena 8M and my Holga 120N, I will just concentrate on using the Minolta X-300. As long as nothing breaks on it. I will try this for a whole year. Looking at the technical capabilities of the camera and my own ideas as a photographer. It's about time I stopped taking snapshots and concentrated on taking some interesting images which fit my photographic aesthetic. I've a few more catch up posts to get around to at some point and then it's on to the Minolta and an attempt to become a better photographer.