[ Journal 2015-2016 // 6×7 ]
Meanwhile, in London …
Got myself a 6×7 format camera. I am so happy to have it. It’s not the Mamiya 7 that I had wanted, it’s the Pentax 6×7, and although it weighs considerably more and most likely doesn’t touch the quality of the Mamiya range of lenses, what it does produce is far from shit and good enough for me and what I want to do with it, which is to use to document future series. Any street photography I now do will be done with the XA. I did lug the Pentax around London on occasion and I know how it now feels in my hand and the weight on my wrist (since it is that I do not have a strap for it), I am okay with taking shots of London with it, but as said, it was a purchase for future projects. It is It’s very hard though and I may consider returning to my AA meetings on the Thursday afternoons. They have great tea and biscuits too.
Use my time to walk and free the mind. Get some shots with the Pentax. I am content with the 6×7 format, but not so much with the camera. It’s heavy and straps are very hard to find for it. It’s also extremely loud and anyone within a 10 meter radius of me when I press the shutter button, will hear the camera and my presence is known. I don’t mind it as I know I will have already taken my shot. But what if I want to run off a number of shots of the same scene? Then it becomes a problem.
The Mamiya 7 is the camera I now seriously consider buying. The slap of the mirror on the Pentax is such that you will never be able to be inconspicuous on the streets with this beast. I do love it though and will be taking it to Poland with me in a week to start Part II of my ‘Milk’ series that I started in 2012.
Drive up Snowdonia with my father. I’m keen to get some shots, more to test the camera than I am to actually photograph the place. I’m not a landscape photographer but I know that when something looks nice, it’s worth a shot. Manage to photograph some Royal Marines taking a time-out. It’s the one shot out of the twenty-or-so rolls that I want to see.
24th February 2014 – After seeing the work of Delores Morat, I am feeling more comfortable with what it is that I produce when using my little Olympus XA. I used to use it mainly on my commute to and from work, which meant that most of the shits that I took were down in the underground, where the light is not the best and most of the shots that I was taking came out pretty fuzzy and sometimes distorted. I have used most of those resulting shots in two projects/series: Tube, and The Scream of The Fox – the latter dealing with the night shift itself. On from that initial comfort and heavily influenced by her work, I have decided to try and find as much old, expired and obscure film as possible. I don’t want to mimic her work, but I’d sure like to give such film a go and see where it takes me.
I am happy with the Mamiya 7 now that I have one, and had a test roll done on my first day out with it. I am happy with the results. So happy in fact that I have decided to ditch all my other cameras. I am no longer shooting 35mm and plan not to in the foreseeable future. Medium Format photography was always a plan to do when it came to projects, but I love the format so much that I will use it for everything.
20th March 2015 – Decided to go out and photograph the druids. Had them marked on my calendar well in advance. Got to Tower Hill and didn’t see a soul. Milled around Tower Hill Terrace, as that’s the place I think they will be. Go into the nearby Costa coffee shop as I think no-one will turn up. As soon as I order my regular latte, I see white overalls and know it’s them. Tell the lady behind the counter that I’ll be back in three minutes. Other photographers are around and getting their shots. I am surprised to see them. I get in someone’s way at which he gives me the tutt and fed up face. I pretty much tell him to fuck off and that he will still get his shot. I was not in his way that much. We later talk and I apologise. He’s a Getty stringer and we talk gear and whatnot. He’s a nice guy. I feel bad for being a bit of a dick but he seems okay with it. Another photographer is there with a Mamiya 7ii and I ask what film he is using. He tells me Portra but seems uninterested in talking any further.
The druids have been talking and chanting in a circle for an hour now. I get through eight rolls of film. I am scared to throw my Mamiya around too much as I’m fucked if it fails. Mill around the outskirts of the circle as other bystanders are there and I focus in on them completely, with all the white robes used as my backdrop. There are about four or five shots that I want to see. Of which maybe two will end up on my Flickr stream. Eight rolls. Eighty shots. One frame.