Today, I would say, has been the nicest weather of the year. Spring well and truly feels that it is on its way. I really like spring, it’s my favourite time of the year. You can enjoy spring knowing that the summer (what we have of it in Britain!) is still ahead of you.
At the moment, I constantly have two cameras on me. A Leica MP rangefinder and a Nikon F3 SLR. The F3 is for the red project and the MP is for general shooting of things that do not fit with the red project. My aim was to have 36 negatives on a roll with red in them. However, I have enjoyed using the Nikon so much that it’s become my main camera at the moment and the MP has been relegated to back up camera. Just goes to show that the most expensive camera doesn’t always win out.
So, I have ended up with Ektar 100 in the F3 (yet another 5 rolls on the way… that’s 15 bought this month, so far) and Portra 400 in the MP. Seems like a fair compromise to me, one for the good light and one for the lower light! I can just about get away with 400ISO at night, but’s it’s a push. I know, digital is easier…
What I have noticed about Ektar is that when the sun is out it produces pastel like colours and produces a look that is not dissimilar tonally to medium format. However, when the sun goes in and the light becomes darker the colours really seem to become saturated. I haven’t seen a film change so much in character in different weather conditions. However, I really like the effects. Of course in Britain, a lot of shots are going to be very saturated!
So, as I have taken the film camera with me today for the 365 project, I have decided I will post up a ‘shot of the day’ from my collection of images. I am going to shoot the 365 project on film for a while, get the film processed locally, then post the images up as a block post. Oh yeah, and somehow I need to record what shots I took on what day to keep track of the whole thing!
One thing I have noticed just by looking back over some images is that I shoot a lot ‘looser’ with a (film) rangefinder camera over a DSLR, where the images are more tightly composed. I am not totally sure why, but I really like how different cameras bring out different styles of photography.
This is a shot from a trip to Brighton some time back, I wish I could have lounged around like this today!
This is a great little video of Martin Parr working in France very recently from the Canon Professional Network website. The accompanying article talks about Parr’s work being like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. Personally, I love his work as he has a great sense of humour that comes through in it. A fun video that’s worth a watch, particularly as it is all about photographing on the beach – which of course I have spent some time doing myself lately!
I have recently just completed a short project documenting Bournemouth’s waterfront region. It was a project that I did during the week in lunch breaks and after work (often in limited time periods, due to commitments!). The resulting work has just been published as a book on the apple iBooks store.
Click the image below to link to the iBooks store to download a copy. There is also a new page set up on this site which provides a little more information. However, I have left it to the book to do most of the talking for now!
This week, my friend Simon and I met up to have a pint and look at some of the work we have done so far with the Swanage project. This is a project contrasting the place between the summer (where it is packed with tourists) and winter (where it returns to being primarily a local community). This year we have been quite loose in our aims and have been mindful of the mass of work that has been done before about the British at the seaside. Martin Parr, Tony Ray Jones are two giants in this area.
Swanage is a great location in that it seems psychologically cut-off from the area around it, it has a feel that you are stepping into another place and another time. The town has a traditional seaside feel to it (where people use crabbing buckets, eat lots of fish and chips (very nice by the way!) etc. In the summer it is awash with people, and I can imagine that people would return to the place on several occasions over the years. It has that kind of quaint feel to it.
In the winter, the place seems to take on a different and darker character. The place feels more local, but it also feels more threatening and less welcome. This feeling might be ‘you had the place in the summer, but it’s ours now’. Growing up in Cornwall, I remember experiencing a similar feeling when the emmets (holiday makers) have gone back home. This contrast is really interesting, and certainly something that we want to thread into our work!
Taking a “let’s see what will emerge from the trips stance” has been an interesting approach. We are getting a body of work together now, and are starting to pull out some themes to organise how we think about the town. Contrast and colour have been dominant, but also how differently we both look at the town. Simon, it turns out, steps in closer than me. He is good at isolating the subject and creating a strong feeling of emotion in his work. My style is more about bringing the environment into the imagery. I tend to create less of an emotional closeness, but a more distant and reflective stance. That can only be a good thing, as we can invite the viewer to think in different ways.
However, we are still at a point using this approach where we are thinking “what is this project about?” and “what actually are we trying to say here?” We are getting a little clearer, but I still don’t think we have really got to grips with what the project is about. So far, it’s been a lot of fun, which is great. But, in terms of photography and saying something, there is a long way to go…
I was scanning some film shots from the recent Swanage trips. So far, the project is primarily about colour. I was quite impressed by the colours that were coming off the digital camera until I scanned a few film shots. Now, I am thinking should I shoot this project with film rather than digital. I prefer using the film camera, but as usual digital is so much more convenient. But, at the end of the day, the film shots look so much better to me. I am still testing out ideas with the project at the moment, so I don’t feel totally committed to one medium or the other. However, if colours continues to be a major organising theme for the work then it is likely that I will continue to work with colour film (Kodak Portra). Here’s a couple of comparison shots to show you what I mean:
The Swanage page has been updated and re-ordered with some of the new work from the latest trip. The major theme that has emerged from the work so far is that of colour. So, I have tried to organise the pictures in the following the colour of the rainbow. There’s not much orange so far to talk about…