12th September 2014 – I really do just have to get on with it. I have to stop, or limit myself rather, of looking at all the photographers that I follow online. I mean, I am just starting out with medium format, and of course I am inevitably going to run into those that have been using the format for a very long time and are currently banging out shots that I know I can not take and would struggle to take; what I am producing will most likely not be to that standard, that is actually a certainty. But that’s not the problem. It’s more a situation of where I see all this wonderful and fabulous work being produced, and wonder how the hell I am going to make myself stand out from it all, where my work will fit, and of the hundreds of photographs that I see, how can I differentiate myself from the mix. Of all the people and of all the work, how do I go about saying, ‘…but this is me.’ I seek a place amongst my peers that I can truly call my own. And when everyone has a camera these days, that’s a hard thing to manage. I’ve seen people Instagram better than I can with a medium format camera … how fucking depressing is that!
13th September 2014 – Meanwhile, In London … Head to The Royal Albert Hall with a few rolls of fuji400, take some shots of the queues for The Last Night of the Proms. Can’t be bothered to stay there for the night when I know there will be more party revellers and drunk people with Union Jack hats on having a good time and offering me a better shot with flash, but that’s not for me right now, I don’t want it. Walk the line slowly and I feel myself going into an auto-mode that I had when I was shooting the protesters, and that’s to just line up and get a shot no matter what – this bunch and crowd is hardly going to move any time soon, but my mentality changes and I feel a little brave, an almost, ‘I’m here to photograph you and I don’t care for anything else, regardless of whether you want me to or not.’ I don’t like to think that way and luckily for me most of the crowd are happy to let me photograph them – there’s much champagne consumed though so everyone’s in high spirits. I get about 18 shots I think; there should be one or two in that, that I will be happy with. I had time to compose, so if anything comes out shit, I need help.
20th September 2014 – Having put up The Train Spotters, and having let them settle for a week or two, I’m startling to think that the idea of branching out with these off-shoots as it were, is perhaps not the best of ideas. Of course, at the time of thinking it up, shooting it and even down to the edit, I believed it to be something a little quirky, but upon reflection, I am not feeling that the images I have produced in each “episode” ’till now, really form anything that I can say would be of interest.
I have the thought to break them down, selecting a few from each at most, and have everything all in one place, rather than the idea of ‘episodes’, which at the time seemed like a nice idea. I want to fall in love with what I am producing and it seems that I can not.
I really ought to get the rolls off that I took from the queue. I also have some test rolls that I want developing to see how my little point-and-shoot cameras are coping.
Shots came back and I’m not best pleased with them in pretty much every aspect, if I’m going to be completely honest here … they’re shit, basically, in what I chose to shoot, the settings I chose at the time thinking I’d be fine, and although the meter on the camera didn’t work, I thought after all this time that I could trust my instincts … well, I failed monumentally in that and one or two of the shots I wanted to get were completely under-exposed and not even Lightroom could save them, and what’s with all the grain? The film was new but some look as though I shot this stuff during a sandstorm in the middle of the fucking Sahara Dessert. Some of the scans have come back with horrendous line marks across them that I cannot see in the negatives, and two of the negatives I got back weren’t even scanned, so I’m a bit pissed-off with the whole thing – with the lab and more-so with myself. The queue was still, I had all the time in the world – how could I have fucked that up? Here are the rest, without any processing and just, well … I have no words.
Have three rolls of 35mm out. I really hope they come out. I was in a different mode when I shot the crowds watching the Pearly Kings & Queens. I was back to how I used to do things, and whilst I like it, it is a style that I have been trying to avoid. Having said this, I think it would be unwise to discount it completely; I’m always going to feel the urge to get out my little point and shoot 35mm camera and spend a roll on one scene.
Looked through HUCK magazine. It’s lovely. I haven’t read it yet – I plan to go over the park and sit with it for an entire afternoon and just take it all in. It’s absolutely beautiful and completely inspiring and leaves me with the thought, ‘I’m so fucking shit at all this.’
In ways I’m glad that the summer has come to an end. I look forward to the low and the flat light, the dirt and the unpleasantness, the grime and the prominence of decay – I like to see that in my shots, if I can get it. Back to 35mm and the £6 point-and-shoot, unsteady feet, quick scenes and 80% out of focus, 80% missed, too slow – the chase and the anticipation – and the cold and all the chill that will inevitably descend in the coming weeks.
6:18pm – Meanwhile, in London …
Feeling a bit dejected about my latest medium format scans; they came back from the lab with terrible, terrible lines across a lot of the frames, however, the fact that 99.99% of what I shot was complete and utter dire, diverted my attention away from such lines – had they not have been there, it would have made absolutely no difference whatsoever. I await the 35mm shots of the crowds at the pearly kings and queens in slightly terrified anticipation … that question runs through my mind, ‘Have you learned nothing, Marc?’
Got the Spag-bol on, should feed me for the next three days as I got the weight thing wrong at the butchers (I refuse to buy chicken from Tesco) – I have no idea what pounds, ounces, kilos, grams mean so used both hands to display my intent, ‘That much,’ I say. Spaghetti on, I’m crap with rice; rice goes in, glue comes out – spaghetti it is.
There’s a woman in the butchers. She looks like Nancy Travis. In my mild awe and teen-like crush, I reach inside my pocket for the espio, but then think, ‘That’s a bit perv’, Marc.’
Thanks to a friend, I have Ida on download and will take it to bed with me to watch. It looks unbelievably beautiful and I cannot wait to see it and let it all bleed into my mind as I sink away into dreams.
Sun takes a bow and sinks to the horizon. I welcome the cold. Plane trails etch their charge across my sky.
So, apparently my home number seems to have been mistakenly used as some CNN International hotline/complaints line. So what does one do when all they get all day are callers complaining? Why you record them, of course.