Posted on January 31, 2014
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been experimenting with Impossible Project instant film, I’ve shot a few boxes of the new colour version, and I have to say it was love at first sight. The whole look, the weird hues and colour casts are everything I’d expected. I’ve ordered a few more boxes of the colour version – we’re going steady.
Now then, the black and white type…I’m not so sure, I certainly didn’t rush out and buy an engagement ring the second the first photograph developed. This stuff is £18 a box, that’s £2.25 a shot! For that price I’m afraid I expect something a little less ‘unpredictable’…but the tones are very pleasing, we have deep shadows and creamy highlights. I like the look, but what’s with the dark blur around the edge, it looks almost artificial.
Will I buy more of the black and white version? Probably, however I’d like to try it in a camera with better manual controls, or at least a model that I can turn off the flash (The 600AF that I’m using would fire the flash even if you were actually standing on the surface of the sun). Impossible Project, if you do happen to read this – £18 for 8 pictures is a piss-take, please try to substantially reduce the cost, because I really like this film…or at least I think I will.
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For the benefit of a couple of people who think these aren’t actually real instant images, I have added a photo of my pet Cocker Spaniel, Leica, and said Polaroids.
Posted on January 29, 2014
First of all, I’ve had a few comments about the new format and layout of this blog, it seems that people miss the old Gridspace theme because “It looked less like a blog and more like a website”…but that’s what this is – a blog, a dumping-ground for my photographic meanderings and thoughts. I do have a dedicated portfolio website in the pipeline, so if you just want to look at photographs without my ramblings, it’ll be up and running in the next couple of months, I promise. You can also follow me on Facebook
I’m not really publishing much in the way of ‘serious’ portraiture at the moment because I’m saving it all for my exhibition at the end of March this year. It’s a dangerous game though, I have portraits sat in a Lightroom folder, titled EXHIBITION, and I keep looking at them, editing them, tinkering with them…I need to just leave them alone, because I know exactly what’s going to happen – come March 20th I’ll be sick of the sight of those photos. Every last one of them. Another issue I have is that I’m quite single-minded, if I’m not shooting portraits for my show, ‘serious portraits’, then I’m not really shooting anything else, unless it’s completely different. This alternative creative outlet comes in the form of instant film. I love instant film like the french love cheese.
Say what you like, try to convince me with £500 software or 79p iPhone apps – you can not fake the look of instant film. All images here were made using a Fuji Instax 200 wide camera. I’ll shoot some more Impossible Project 600 just as soon as I’ve sold my kidney to pay for the film…
Posted on January 21, 2014
I’m a naturally impatient person, so from the outset I always imagined that digital photography would be my ideal medium, but that hasn’t really been the case. For the last few years digital photography has been an itch that I’ve never quite been able to scratch, there’s always lacked the sense of total satisfaction that I only ever get when I shoot film. At the moment I’m very itchy, and there’s only one thing that can get up the back of my t-shirt with both hands and sharpened finger nails – instant film!
I’ve been shooting Fuji Instax film , on and off, for a few years now, I love the cold blueish tones and creamy highlights, but mention instant film to anyone and the first thing they’ll think of is Polaroid, almost a generic name for any kind of instant film. Polaroid stopped making film a few years back, but the factory was taken-over by a company called The Impossible Project. I never tried any of IP’s early emulations of Polaroid film, I’d read all kinds of horror stories about it, about how difficult it was to use and its instability, so I was never willing to part with my cash…but IP’s latest incarnation of Polaroid 600 color film is different, and I love it.
To be honest, I wasn’t really one of those die-hard fans of the original Polaroid film, I always found it a bit dark and ‘wishy-washy’, maybe it was just poor technique? IP’s version is everything I wanted Polaroid 600 to be – punchy colours and weird hues, sharp, but not too sharp. Development time is between 30 and 60 minutes, so still not actually ‘instant’, but worth the wait!
The one down side is the price – every time I press the shutter it costs me £2.25…but I want to keep pressing the shutter.
All square images were made using a Polaroid 600AF camera (circa 1999) and The Impossible Project Color 600 instant film. All rectangular images were made using a Fuji Instax 210 camera and Instax Wide film.
Posted on December 17, 2013
Posted on December 3, 2013
I’ve photographed a lot of people over the last few years, hundreds of people, possibly thousands. Of all these people, there is a handful that I keep going back to make portraits of time and time again, Bonzo Slater (above) is one of those people. I must have photographed Bonzo at least 15 times, in various locations around the Isle of Man, most of the locations being within spitting distance of a pub…
A new subject for me is Graham Brunström. Graham is currently waiting for a kidney transplant and is pictured here connected to his dialysis machine in his bedroom. Graham was actually due to have a transplant early next year, but there’s been a set-back with the donor, so this probably won’t go ahead. Graham pointed-out that there is only a limited time that he can receive dialysis and that “the clock is ticking”. Despite all of this, Graham remains very positive.
Above is musician, Chris Gray, another repeat and habitual subject. I took Chris out into the hills and photographed him using just the headlights from my van. I wanted a kind of grungy, snapshot look to the image. It appears to have worked.
Posted on November 22, 2013
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Posted on November 16, 2013
This week I photographed JC Callister for my upcoming project that will document estranged fathers. I used JC as a bit of an experiment to decide what camera format I’d be shooting the series on, these are the results. I’m very single-minded when it comes to shooting a project, once I’ve started I have to stick to the same camera, the same lens, and where possible, the same film.
The shots here were made using (top to bottom) Fuji X-Pro1/35mm, Pentax 67/90mm/Kodak Portra 400 film and Canon G15 digital compact. I converted the digital images to mono using VSCO software. I like all three formats, but at the moment I’m leaning more toward the last shoot, which I think best conveys the mood of this project…but I love shooting on film too.
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Posted on October 23, 2013
This week there’s been a slight change of plan – I’m not driving to Moscow anymore, I don’t fancy the idea of traversing Belarus, I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the country. Also, visas are needed for Belarus and Russia, which would add nearly £1000 to the cost of a trip that I’m already planning on a very tight budget. So, I’m driving to Crimea in Ukraine instead, it’s about the same distance and I’ll get to go through Romania on the way back, a country I’ve always wanted to visit.
Joining me on this epic road-trip will be writer and very good friend, Trevor Gibbs. Trevor has been my ‘partner in crime’ for a few projects, the last one being our joint essay on Yellowknife and the surrounding area in North West Canada. Trevor has travelled extensively all over the world, knows his stuff and is generally good to have around, he also loves a good road-trip…
Road-trip images – Mamiya 7II and Kodak Portra 400 film
Portraits – Fuji X-Pro1, edited using VSCO Film
Posted on October 15, 2013
This week I’ve started planning my next big adventure, a road-trip of epic proportions – The Isle of Man to Moscow and back – a 4000 mile round trip. I’ve been all over the world, but never this part of the world, and what better way to see it?
This probably isn’t a lot of people’s idea of fun, but I can’t think of anything better; load a vehicle with supplies and just drive, stopping off whenever and wherever you like. Another thing that really appeals to be is the minuscule amount of planning that’s needed – no flights to book, no connections to miss and no accommodation to pay for (I’ll be sleeping in my vehicle…) As I said, I have no plans as to who or what I’ll be photographing, it’ll just be anybody or anything that I like the look of.
Posted on October 11, 2013
I didn’t take a lot of photographs during my last trip to France, that’s not why I went. I went to Bergerac to research and plan a series of workshops I’m planning for next year, that took about four days. I spent the remainder of the two weeks writing and drinking wine, mostly.
I don’t speak a huge amount of French, I’m certainly not up to conversational standards, so approaching strangers and asking them if they’d like to have their portrait taken can be difficult, to say the least. The French have very specific laws about photographing people without their permission – you just don’t do it. Having said that, once you’ve engaged someone, they generally oblige. I found that carrying business cards helps, if all else failed I’d just hand them a card, point to my web address and smile…”regarder vers le bas de la lentille ..ne souriez pas!”