I’ve had a crack at making a blog in the past, with tumblr and wordpress, and whilst the latter had a number of entries, I was never happy with it nor liked the fact that I was signing up for and heading down another social avenue; how many avenues must a man’s path have? As few as possible. However, I am pretty restless by nature and I do tend to bang on about crap, and so have decided to keep whatever ramblings I do have, contained within my website, or an extension of it, but still using Cargo, which is what I use for my main site.
So, what the hell do I have to say? Well, not a fat lot to be honest and I’m certainly never going to match or attain the standard and well written ramblings of some of my peers. I tried, and failed. I just find it hard to string more than one sentence together about what it is that I am doing or the latest photo-book that I have purchased in a coherent and academic way, so don’t expect too much beyond, ‘Oh that’s nice … I do like that.’ Any photographs that I decide to throw up, I’ve kept as they came out of the camera-phone. Normally I would take them into Lightroom and crop, chop and brighten them, but I can’t be bothered, and honestly, I’m a little tired of making everything look so right. So I’ll just post as-is, grub, dirt, warts n’all. 😉
My recent endeavour has taken me into the realms of medium format film. At present I am shooting 6×6 but eventually it is my aim to shoot my document of British life on 6×7 film, but for now, 6×6 is something I have chosen to start with and well, the camera’s are a lot cheaper. My first 6×6 camera cost me £20, and 2/3 of The Plane Spotters was shot with it, the rest being shot with the tank that is the Kiev-60, but I’ll get to that.
The Lubitel-2 camera is pretty small, quite plasticky and I’d read that the lens wasn’t the best. However, for the twenty pounds I paid for it, I wasn’t complaining and simply wanted to try out a few rolls and see how my compositions and framing differed to that of 35mm. After a couple of weeks my first rolls came back and I was pretty happy with the outcome. I’d expected most of my shots to be either out of focus, exposures all over the place and my framing a mess, and whilst one or two were all of the above, with one shot that I was really looking forward to, ruined, as I had forgotten to wind the film on, I was happy with most.
At the same time as these shots were out for developing, I had purchased a slightly more expensive medium format camera – the Kiev 60. My main reason for buying it was more to do with the fact that I could either have the waist-lever viewfinder or an eye-level one, and being so used to having a camera up to my eye instead of looking down, is my main purpose for getting it, plus it was also pretty cheap in comparison to 6×7 cameras. This camera didn’t come without anxiety though.
What I had read, (and to great panic, read after the purchase) was that there was a factory error with the Kiev-60’s, in that during their production, many of them were made with a defect that affected the spacing between each frame taken, with many users finding their negatives coming back with frames overlapping one-another. This caused me some panic as I had already purchased it and was pretty worried about the six rolls that I had already put through it since. Of the four, two came back today, additional shots for The Plane Spotters “episode” and luckily and to great relief, there was ample gap between the frames and none had overlapped. It’s big, it’s a tank, and most likely weighs in the same as such.
On another note, for my 35mm stuff, I decided to go ahead and get myself another little point-and-shoot camera (since having left my Olympus XA on a train) as backup should the Pentax Espio fail … included free in the sale, was an Olympus mju, so it was a pretty sweet deal and I now have a few to choose from that I know will perform, or should do, as they still have test rolls of Kodak in them, but they seem to operate as they should do.
Oh, on a side-note, I got myself another photo-book. It is one that I have wanted for a while and the last time that I searched for it on Amazon and eBay, it was listed at around £50 and £100+. Out of boredom a week later, whilst in bed reading more junk on my Guardian App, I decided to have another look. To my surprise I saw the book listed for 0.98p. Two of them. So I went ahead and purchased them, expecting the seller to cancel the order, but they didn’t and the book arrived today. This version, published simultaneously at the time of the Penguin paperback edition, is the hardback, and whilst most likely not as rare as the paperback, I don’t care. I have it. I love it. And it all falls in nicely with what I will be shooting in the future.
The main reason I have got my heart set on the 6×7 camera, is to use it for a wider body of work that I envision will most likely take me many many years, and that’s fine. After three years since I first picked up a camera, I have finally settled and decided on a subject: The British. My main influence on this was from the work of Tony Ray-Jones, and although I shoot mainly street photography, I found myself wanting a lot more out of my work, for there to be some substance and context, than just random images from the street. Not that that in itself is a bad thing nor do I think it, but for me, I just need to feel more about what it is that I’m shooting. That’s not to say that I won’t have other idea’s and other little projects to have a go at, it’s just that my focus is more clear and I feel more settled and determined, in the manner of resolute acceptance in what it is that I want out of all this.
Not too many days left of summer, the sky is darkening and the air I imagine, spilling over into fall; the scream of the fox becomes more distant, the moon somehow brighter and clearer, less haze, less smog … I welcome the cold and the damp and the dirt, drawn-out darkness, extending the nights into day as days fall under the dominance of a night that comes too soon; tea, cup number five in a childish cup, a Polish version of Mystic Pizza rests in its frame on the book shelf and I’m glad for high Victorian ceilings; it’s hard to see the places where you want to go when you’re wedged and lodged firmly like a clot in the thick realms of London’s pounding heart – the fields of England and winding lanes, small village churches, thatch, large stonework and a town-bicycle’s bell all ring and sound within the blurry light of my dreams.