The Wild Places is a wonderful book by Robert Macfarlane about the idea of wildness in the British isles. He goes on numerous adventures, from Scotland to Dorset exploring what remains of wildness in a landscape that is heavily sanitised and populated by people. This e-book is my take on the interpretation of the idea ‘wild places’.
Please feel free to download a copy of this e-book.
For much of the last year I have primarily shooting in digital. However, in the last few weeks there has been a slowly returning interest in shooting some film again.
I am really enjoying shooting digital, it’s so easy and convenient. But, I have also got lazier when out and about doing street photography. My style (with digital) has been to just point and shoot at any interesting subject passing by. I do quite enjoy doing this. But, there is a nagging part of me which doesn’t like this less considered approach. I find it quite difficult to shoot digital like a film camera as I know I can just keep firing away to get another image (or a sequence of images).
A friend and I have decided to do a project based on Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places. In this book, I particularly like the idea that wildness does not have to be the classic vast landscape wilderness. It can also be a very local area, where nature is just doing its thing without human interference (at least for a little while).
The idea of this project is to shoot it from the 1st October until the end of the month. Then, we’ll see what comes out of it in the following month. I am going to shoot film (Kodak Tri-X and Portra) on a Nikon F3. I am going to keep the project local, in line with Macfarlane’s comments about ‘the local wilderness’ (so to say). Most likely, I will just keep to Salisbury and see what I can find there (hopefully not discarded perform bottles left by Russian agents…). I have spotted a few potential images already. In part, this is because the town is very easy to access for me. But, it is also because I am so bored of shooting in Salisbury after 6 years that I need to do something different just to try and make the (relentlessly) familiar unfamiliar again.
This little glimmer of resurgence for film has been partly fuelled by me missing my Leica M camera. It’s pretty obvious to me that once I sold the Leica, I stopped shooting film shortly afterwards. I am some way off buying another Leica at the moment, but you never know…
There are no recent film shots to post up at the moment, mainly because I haven’t processed any yet. However, here are some recent digital images where I have been playing with under exposure. Enjoy!
In March my project for the month was shooting the colour red, using Kodak Ektar film. I have put together a short eBook of the project. There is no overarching narrative, beyond the use of the colour red in each image. However, most of the shots in the eBook were taken near to Bournemouth. There were a large number of other shots that did not make the final edit, not because I didn’t like the images (some I really liked), but because I felt they did not fit together naturally enough for me.
However, here are some of the images that did not make the final book. Check out the eBook for those that did.
In the last few weeks, I have been shooting film again (hence the lack of daily posts). I have been really enjoying it, the experience is lovely – you just take the shot and move on, forget about it. I would like to process the films myself. I have all the kit to do it myself, but I don’t the inclination time. So, I will rely on my local photography centre.
So, in the spirit of things, I am going to spend the next month just using one camera (Leica M7), one lens (35mm) and one film type (Cinestill 800T rated at ISO 500).
What I will do is shoot it, bag it up and wait until the end of the month to get it processed in one hit. I’ll post up anything decent!
Most of my photography is done using a 50mm lens in Salisbury. So, to make it more of a challenge, I am just going to shoot with a wide-angle 35mm. It is not a length that I use much, so that’ll be interesting for me.
Finally, my usual style is reasonably (I hope!) well composed, clean and simple images. For the next month, I am going to get messier and try out a different tack. I’m going to try and be more Jun Abe rather than Bresson. We’ll see how that goes, it’s going to be painful for me. However, it’s a good thing to get out of your comfort zone. Don’t expect any Alex Webb quality shots, I’m not that good at complexity in imagery!
Changing your sensor
Recently, I have been shooting a lot of digital and it has been fun. I do like the ‘clean’ look of a monochrome digital image. I have been slimming my photography kit down, getting rid of cameras that I don’t use often enough to justify keeping them. I don’t like the idea of having cameras sitting in a box collecting dust. If I am not using them, then hopefully someone else will. The only exception to this is my large format. I don’t use it enough, but this a camera for life for me.
I had been thinking about a digital rangefinder, as I like this style of shooting. I had one before (a Leica M9-P), but I sold it after a year. It would get noisy very quickly as you moved off the base ISO. Mainly though, I just didn’t like the feel of it. I didn’t really care about the crappy LCD screen on the back, but it just didn’t feel as solid or tough as the film cameras. Also, even though relative to other manufacturers’ Leica’s hold their value, they still suffer massively from digital rot. Any digital bought now is just a door-stop in waiting. My 1958 Leica M3 (out on loan to a friend) is still going strong.
The other thing that I have ‘realised’ more recently with film, is that if you want to change the ‘sensor’ you just load a different type of film. Hence, this new project. Whilst the film market has shrunk since I first started photography when I was a teenager, there are still a lot of films about (and slowly increasing again with the recent release of Bellamy Hunt’s Japan Camera Hunter film (Street pan JCH400), Film Ferrania’s P30 monochrome cinema still film, Cinestill medium format, and the upcoming re-release of Kodak Ektachrome (like others, I hope for the return of Kodachrome (unlikely, I know)).
There are some pretty interesting films out there like Rollei Redbird, Adox Colour Implosion, Infrared, bulk cinema films, as well as as a whole bunch of more common films that I have not tied (e.g. Kodak Ektar (on order)). So, I figured I might as well expand my photographic horizons and give them a go!